Let My People Know offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most eventful U.S. administrations for the Middle East in recent years by Lightstone, chief of staff to David Friedman, Donald Trump's ambassador to Israel. As Lightstone puts it, his intention is to "bring readers into the room" with him but without "damaging revelations about anyone." He clearly enjoyed his work and felt proud of his achievements, attributes that come abundantly through in the writing.
Lightstone went from being an ordained New York rabbi, educator, and entrepreneur to the ambassador's right-hand man by virtue of his closeness to the new diplomat, both geographically and socially.
The book divides into chapters focusing on various events or topics, ranging from Lightstone's appointment, to his interactions with the professional embassy staff, to the oversized influence of NGOs in Washington's decision-making process.
Let My People Know provides a valuable addition to the corpus of books by former members of the Trump administration and sheds light on how those involved tore up the "peace processing" rule book to achieve significant breakthroughs. Exhibits A and B, of course, concern recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the Abraham accords. Now that the Biden administration has returned to the old play book, this makes for an especially interesting compare-and-contrast.
Lightstone is at his best when writing about personal interactions and the subtext surrounding them, making the book far more readable than a mere a list of events. As non-diplomats, Lightstone and his boss found themselves disdained by the professional staff at the State Department, who considered them undeserving of their elevated diplomatic positions. His book testifies to the error of those assessments; perhaps experience in other professions and skills accrued there served them better than a career in the State Department?