What is going on behind closed doors when the President of the United States meets privately with another world leader whose language he does not speak. The only other American in the room is his interpreter who may also have to write the historical record of that meeting for posterity. In his introduction, the author leads us into this mysterious world through the meetings between President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and their highly skilled interpreters.
The author intimately knows this world, having interpreted for seven presidents from Lyndon Johnson through Bill Clinton. Five chapters are dedicated to the presidents he worked for most often: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. We get to know these presidents as seen with the eyes of the interpreter in a lively and entertaining book, full of inside stories and anecdotes. The second purpose of the book is to introduce the reader to the profession of interpretation, a profession most Americans know precious little about. This is done with a minimum of theory and a wealth of practical examples, many of which are highly entertaining episodes, keeping the reader wanting to read on with a minimum of interruptions.