I list below, in categories corresponding roughly to some of the chapters in my textbook, books which I believe valuable to all students of diplomacy and are available either via Amazon or for no cost at all on the Internet. I am also building a new section on ‘Novels by Former Diplomats and Intelligence Officers’ (see at the end of this page).
Declaration of interest: As an ‘Amazon Associate’ I receive a small commission  on any book purchased from Amazon via this website.

  • Berridge, G. R., Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 4th ed (2010)[buy this book]
  • Berridge, G. R. and Lorna Lloyd, The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy (2012)[buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • Hamilton, Keith and Richard Langhorne, The Practice of Diplomacy, 2nd ed (2011)
    A very valuable historical account of the evolution of diplomatic practice but – unlike Anderson’s book – goes back further (to Ancient Greece) and comes up much nearer to the present. I recommend this textbook as one that is complementary to my own. [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • F. Adcock and D. J. Mosley, Diplomacy in Ancient Greece (1975)
    The only full length study of this subject. Extremely valuable.[buy this book]
  • M. S. Anderson, The Rise of Modern Diplomacy, 1450-1919 (1993)
    A solid historical treatment by a former Professor of International History at the LSE.[ buy this book ]
  • Sonia Anderson, An English Consul in Turkey: Paul Rycaut at Smyrna, 1667-1678 (1989)
    A very illuminating window on mid-seventeenth century consular work; superbly researched.[buy this book]
  • Barber, Peter, Diplomacy: The world of the honest spy (1979).
    An authoritative and richly illustrated, brief history of diplomatic practice from about 1400 to 1900. It was designed to complement an exhibition on this theme held at the British Library (which, regrettably, I missed) but, as the author says in his Preface, presents ‘a coherent survey of the subject which stands quite independently of the exhibition.’ [buy this book]
  • G.R. Berridge, Diplomatic Classics: Selected texts from Commynes to Vattel (2004)
    There is a description of this book on the Palgrave page.[buy this book]
  • Adda B. Bozeman, Politics and Culture in International History, 2nd ed (1994)
    A most important book, with very interesting sections in chs. 9 and 13 on Byzantine, Venetian and modern European diplomacy.[buy this book]
  • Gordon A. Craig and Felix Gilbert (eds), The Diplomats, 1919-1939 (1953)
  • Gordon A. Craig and Francis L. Loewenheim (eds), The Diplomats, 1939-1979 (1994)
    Two well-known collections of essays by major writers. Mainly dealing with important ambassadors (esp. the first volume), they also contain chapters dealing with foreign ministries, political figures who made a major impact on the foreign policies of their states, and more general issues.[buy The Diplomats, 1919-1939] [buy The Diplomats, 1939-1979]
  • G. P. Cuttino, English Medieval Diplomacy (1985)
    By the author of English Diplomatic Administration, 1259-1339, 2nd ed (1971), published by Oxford Univ. Press. Authoritative. The earlier book is now out of print. For this, try www.abebooks.co.uk.[buy this book]
  • J.G. Dickinson, The Congress of Arras, 1435 (1955)
    An authoritative and most illuminating account of medieval multilateral diplomacy, drawn to my attention by Anne-Brigitte Spitzbarth (University of Lille III). [buy this book]
  • Simon Franklin and Jonathan Shepard (eds), Byzantine Diplomacy: Papers of the Twenty-fourth Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Cambridge March 1990 (1992)
    A comprehensive collection of essays of a uniformly high standard.[buy this book]
  • L. S. Frey and M. L. Frey, The History of Diplomatic Immunity (1999)[Review][buy this book]P. Gardner and F. B. Jevons, A Manual of Greek Antiquities (1895), ch. XXII (p. 597ff) [Available free at the Internet Archive]
  • Grenville-Murray, E. C., Side-Lights on English Society, or Sketches from Life, Social and Satirical (1881), vol. 1, pp. 151-254 (‘On H.B.M.’s Service’).
    A satirical treatment of British diplomacy in the mid-nineteenth century, often highly amusing. The engravings, however, are disappointing. G-M deals with each position in the diplomatic service according to his view of the order of precedence, starting with ambassadors – and putting ambassadresses last, after messengers and interpreters.[Available free at the Internet Archive]
  • Isobel Grundy, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Comet of the Enlightenment (1999)
    Bags of detail; an exhaustively researched biography. Excellent value in paperback from first class publisher (OUP).[buy this book]
  • Keith Hamilton, Bertie of Thame: Edwardian Ambassador(1990)
    Lord Bertie (pronounced ‘Bartie’) was British Ambassador to France from 1905 until 1918 and after the First World War was widely held to epitomise the ‘old dipomacy’. This is a formidably researched and polished account of his diplomatic career, focussing chiefly on his Paris embassy, by an author who was a full-time academic before becoming an FCO historian. This is a model for ambassador studies. Keith Hamilton is also co-author of the textbook noted below.[buy this book]
  • Keith Hamilton and Richard Langhorne, The Practice of Diplomacy, 2nd ed (2011)
    A very valuable historical account of the evolution of diplomatic practice but – unlike Anderson’s book – goes back further (to Ancient Greece) and comes up much nearer to the present. I recommend this textbook to my students as one that is complementary to my own.[buy this book]
  • David Jayne Hill, A History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe, vol. 1 (1905) [Available free at the Internet Archive]
  • David Jayne Hill, A History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe, vol. 2 (1906) [Available free at the Internet Archive]
  • David Jayne Hill, A History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe, vol. 3 (1914) [Available free at the Internet Archive]
  • Hopkins, Michael F. et al (eds), The Washington Embassy: British ambassadors to the United States, 1939-77 (2009).
    Eleven good essays with a conclusion by me and John Young. [buy this book]
  • Raymond A. Jones, The Nineteenth Century Foreign Office (1971)
    Ditto.[buy this book]
  • Raymond A. Jones, The British Diplomatic Service 1815-1914 (1983)
    A generally sound, well-organized account.[buy this book]
  • Mario Liverani, International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC (2002)
    An immensely authoritative work by the Professor of History of the Ancient Near East and Director of the Inter-University Research Centre for Saharan Archaeology at the University of Rome. It is a revised version of a book originally published in Padua in 1990 as Prestige and Interest.[buy this book]
  • Garrett Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy (1955)
    The widely acclaimed classic account of the birth of the resident embassy in Renaissance Italy. A superb book. Should be read in conjunction with Donald Queller’s splendid The Office of Ambassador in the Middle Ages, though this is now out of print (find it second-hand via www.abebooks.com).[buy this book]
  • Markus Mösslang, Chris Manias and Torsten Riotte, British Envoys to Germany 1816-1866: Volume 4, 1851-1866 (Camden Fifth Series) (2011) [buy this book] Markus Mösslang, Torsten Riotte and Hagen Schulze, British Envoys to Germany 1816-1866: Volume 3: 1848-1850: 1848-1850 v. 3 (Camden Fifth Series) (2006) [buy this book]
  • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish Embassy Letters, intro. Anita Desai (Virago ed. 1995)
    Lady Mary was the highly intelligent, adventurous, and unconventional wife of an early eighteenth century British ambassador in Istanbul. These famous letters, extracted from the complete collection, are essential reading for anyone interested in women and diplomacy.[buy this book]
  • David Paull Nickles, Under the Wire: How the Telegraph Changed Diplomacy (2003)
    The first full-length study of this important subject. Recommended by the State Department’s historian.[buy this book]
  • Donald M. Nicol, Byzantium and Venice: A study in diplomatic and cultural relations (1988, PoD edn 1992)
    I started to skim this for passages dealing with Byzantine diplomatic method but got hooked and read it from cover to cover. It manages to be rich in detail without obscuring the main themes. A brilliant and sometimes quite gripping historical narrative. Also particularly good on the role of the Venetian baillie. Devotees of the historical novels of Dorothy Dunnett (esp. the House of Niccolo series) should read this book. Fact really is stranger than fiction.[buy this book]
  • Harold Nicolson, The Evolution of Diplomatic Method (1954)
    A well known account, with which all historians of diplomacy need to be familiar. It is superficial but elegant and sharp, and provocative in a way beloved by those searching for good quotes for exam questions.[buy this book]
  • D.E. Queller, The Office of Ambassador in the Middle Ages (1967)
    A great book, full of wisdom and learning. [buy this book]
  • William St. Clair, Lord Elgin and the Marbles (1983)
    Elgin was by no means the first or the least scrupulous British ambassador in Istanbul to arrange for the removal of priceless sculptures from the Ottoman Empire, particularly from Greece; he is however the most controversial. This is a lively, entertaining, authoritative, and beautifully written account of this episode. One ends up almost feeling sorry for him.[buy this book]
  • Sarkissian, A. O. (ed), Studies in Diplomatic History and Historiography in honour of G. P. Gooch, C.H. (1962), esp. the ch. by Rohan Butler on ‘Paradiplomacy’ [buy this book]
  • Young, John W., Twentieth Century Diplomacy: A case study of British practice, 1963-1976 (2008).
    A first-rate work by one of the leading scholars of British diplomacy and recent diplomatic history. It is unique in so far as it shows how each of the main modes of diplomacy (resident embassies, special missions, bilateral summits, and so on) were employed by one state over one relatively short period. It is also based on the official papers which were the latest to be de-classified at the time of writing. [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • A.N. Yurdusev (ed.), Ottoman Diplomacy (2004)
    A collection of essays on an intriguing subject, well edited by Nuri Yurdusev of the Dept. of International Relations at the Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara. Contains two of my own pieces, so I could hardly leave this out![buy this book]
  • Brian Hocking and David Spence (eds), Foreign Ministries in the European Union (2002)
    Essays on 13 MFAs this time, most of which are impressive; some overlap with the first vol.[buy this book]
  • Brian Hocking (ed.), Foreign Ministries: Change and adaptation (1999)
    An important collection of essays on 12 MFAs, though variable in quality. The editor’s introduction is particularly useful.[buy this book]
  • John Dickie, The New Mandarins: How British foreign policy works (2004)
    Useful on the pressure from the ‘young Turks’ to modernise the FO’s IT systems, make recruitment and decision-making more ‘inclusive’, and give more thought to strategic planning and flexibility in resource deployment. Marred by weak and uncritical analysis (Dickie comes close to gushing in his enthusiam for the FO’s bright young things) and almost complete lack of supporting evidence for its claims. When one reads such statements as this: “… when Sir Alex Douglas-Home took over as Foreign Secretary [in 1970] he consigned the [Duncan] report to the archives and turned his attention to what he termed ‘the real world’: his daily study of the Racing Post” (the first untrue and the second a cheap slur) it is as well to remember that Dickie was the diplomatic correspondent of The Daily Mailand not a broadsheet newspaper. Essentially a newspaper ‘supplement’ that updates his first book on the FO.[buy this book]
  • Ruth Dudley Edwards, True Brits: Behind Closed Doors (1994)
    Published by BBC Books, the book of the highly successful TV series, which stupidly I omitted to video. Well written and well illustrated.[ buy this book ]
  • Neilson, Keith and T. G. Otte, The Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, 1854-1946 (2009).
    I would have preferred to see this organized more thematically (as I said in a review in Diplomacy & Statecraft) but it remains a very valuable work by two eminent historians. [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • T. G. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind: The making of British foreign policy, 1865-1914 (2011) [buy this book] A massive and authoritative book, which I have reviewed for Diplomacy & Statecraft. However, note that, in contrast to the approach of Zara Steiner in the piece listed immediately below, it includes an account of the attitudes and influence of the diplomats abroad as well as of the senior clerks in the foreign ministry at home.
  • Zara Steiner, ‘The Foreign Office under Sir Edward Grey, 1905-1914’, in F. H. Hinsley (ed), British Foreign Policy under Sir Edward Grey (Cambridge UP, 1977)
  • Zara Steiner (ed), The Times Survey of Foreign Ministries of the World (1982)
    Published by Times Books, this is expensive but indispensable for any serious student of the ministry of foreign affairs. The intro. by Zara Steiner, author of the highly praised Foreign Office and Foreign Policy, 1898-1914 (now unfortunately o/p), is very instructive and there are essays on 24 MFAs, including three on China and two on Austria. (Others are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, USSR, UK, USA.) Impressive and highly interesting historical detail; all contributors authorities in their fields. Now a little dated as far as the contemporary picture is concerned but I am not aware that any second ed is contemplated.[ buy this book ]
  • Strang, Lord, The Foreign Office (1955).
    An illuminating insight into the official mind of the British FO written by a former permanent under-sec. [buy this book]
  • Eileen Denza, Diplomatic Law: Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 3rd ed (2008)
    The work of a former legal counsellor in the FCO and now visiting professor of law at UCL, Eileen Denza’s book, published by Oxford Univ. Press, provides the definitive text on the VCDR (1961) and subsequent state practice. It is a pity that, as with most law books, the price is outrageous and second-hand copies are difficult if not impossible to find.[ buy this book ]
  • Sir Ivor Roberts (ed), Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, 6th ed (2009)
    See our entry on this in the Dictionary of Diplomacy, although this pre-dated the new edition. The English language manual of the profession, this has now been completely revised and updated. Strongly recommended. [buy this book]
  • Thomas A. Bailey, The Art of Diplomacy: The American experience (Meredith: New York, 1968)
    A clear and authoritative collection of wise maxims on diplomacy by a well known diplomatic historian. Though its examples are now somewhat dated it is still well worth reading. I stumbled upon it only recently and much enjoyed it. Teachers might cull it in order to fashion exam questions and students pore over it in order to know what to expect: “‘Great powers can afford to lose face.’ Discuss.” (Answer? Yes, but on some issues more than others, and on none continually.) Now out of print but second hand copies are available very cheaply through Amazon and from Abebooks.co.uk.
  • Raymond Cohen, Negotiating across Cultures, 2nd ed (1997)
    The best book on the subject.[ buy this book ]
  • Percy Cradock, Experiences of China (1994)
    Instructive on, among other things, the Anglo-Chinese negotiations that produced the Hong Kong agreement. Cradock was British amb. in Peking 1978-84 and from 1984 to 1992 the PM’s foreign policy adviser.[ buy this book ]
  • J. Gross-Stein (ed), Gettibng to the Table: The process of international pre-negotiation (1989) [buy this book]
  • G. Lakoff and M. Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (1980)
    A well-regarded, accessible book on a complex subject. I found this very instructive for the development of my argument on ‘metaphors of movement’ in the ch. in my textbook on diplomatic momentum.[ buy this book ]
  • William B. Quandt, Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics (1986)
    A detailed insider account of the negotiations in 1977-9 that issued in the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Also includes an outstanding analysis of the implications for US foreign policy and diplomacy of the presidential electoral cycle (ch. 2), and useful documentary appendices (incl. side letters). Great value in paperback.[ buy this book ]
  • I. William Zartman and Maureen Berman, The Practical Negotiator (1982)
    Still a useful text. Well organized by stages of negotiation.[ buy this book ]
  • Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to Six Cold War Presidents (2001)
    Dobrynin was Soviet ambassador to Washington from 1962 until 1986, an exceptionally long period for any diplomat of a major power to occupy the same post. This very important diplomatic memoir was first published by Random House in 1995 and has now been made available in paperback by the University of Washington Press.[ buy this book ]
  • Douglas Hurd, The Search for Peace (1997)
    A short but shrewd book by a former British diplomat and Conservative foreign secretary.[ buy this book ]
  • Jane C. Loeffler, The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America’s Embassies, 2nd ed (2011)
    Highly original, well researched, and extremely interesting book exploring the reasoning behind changes in the design and location of America’s embassies after the Second World War. This is the revised edition. [ buy this book ]
  • David Mayers, The Ambassadors and America’s Soviet Policy (1995)
    Solid historical treatment, focussing in the main on the opinions and influence of individual ambassadors.[ buy this book ]
  • David Mayers, FDR’s Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis: From the rise of Hitler to the end of World War II (2012) [buy this book]
  • Meyer, Christopher, DC Confidential: The controversial memoirs of Britain’s ambassador to the U.S. at the time of 9/11 and the Iraq War(2005) [review ] [buy this book] [kindle ed]
  • Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations, rev. by Kenneth W. Thompson and David Clinton (2005)
    Morgenthau’s classic textbook, first published in 1948 and revised for the last time by HJM in 1978. It is interesting to read the high priest of power politics on the subject of diplomacy, on which there is of course quite a lot in this book.[ buy this book ]
  • David D. Newsom (ed), Diplomacy under a Foreign Flag: When nations break relations (1990)
    Important not least because it is the only full-length study of the institution of the protecting power and its modern elaboration, the interests section. Contains useful case studies.[ buy this book ]
  • Kishan S. Rana, The 21st Century Ambassador (2006)
    Another splendid example of the wit and wisdom of Ambassador Rana. [buy this book] [kindle ed]
  • Sharp, Paul and Geoffrey Wiseman (eds), The Diplomatic Corps as an Institution of International Society (2007).
    This book deserves attention for its original focus as well as for the high quality of some of its 13 essays. It is, of course, about the multinational ‘body’ of diplomats in each capital city, not about the diplomatic service. [buy this book]
  • Joseph G. Sullivan (ed), Embassies under Siege (1995)
    A very useful collection of individual experiences from the respected Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in Washington.[ buy this book ]
  • G. R. Berridge, Gerald Fitzmaurice (1865-1939), Chief Dragoman of the British Embassy in Turkey (2007) [buy this book]
  • John Dickie, The British Consul: Heir to a great tradition (2007) [buy this book]
  • Martin F. Hertz (ed.), The Consular Dimension of Diplomacy (1983) [buy this book]
  • Luke T. Lee and John Quigley, Consular Law and Practice, 3rd edn (2008) [buy this book]
  • Jan Melissen and Ana Mar Fernández (eds), Consular Affairs and Diplomacy (2011) [buy this book]
  • D. C. M. Platt, The Cinderella Service: British consuls since 1825 (1971) [buy this book].
  • Sydney D. Bailey and Sam Daws, The Procedure of the UN Security Council, 3rd ed (1998)
    Expensive but the holy book on the subject: comprehensive, clear, authoritative, still very recent, nearly 700 pages with extensive appendices and excellent index from first class publisher (Oxford Univ. Press).[ buy this book ]
  • D. Bourantonis and M. Evriviades (eds), A United Nations for the Twenty-First Century (1996)
    A very good collection of essays, though expensive.[ buy this book ]
  • Adam Roberts and Benedict Kingsbury (eds), United Nations, Divided World, 2nd ed (1993)
    An excellent collection of essays from OUP.[ buy this book ]
  • R. Putnam and N. Bayne, Hanging Together: Cooperation and conflict in the seven power summits (pb. ed 2002)
    A very useful collection, not least because most books on summitry appear now to be out of print.[ buy this book ]
  • Ronald A. Walker, Multilateral Conferences: Purposeful International Negotiation(2004)[Review][ buy this book ]
  • Richard T. Arndt, The First Resort of Kings: American cultural diplomacy in the twentieth century (2005) [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • Nicholas J. Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American propaganda and public diplomacy, 1945-1989 (2008) [buy this book]
  • Nancy Snow and Philip M. Taylor (eds), Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy (2008) [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • Philip M. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind: A history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present era, 3rd ed (2003) [buy this book]
  • Jacob Bercovitch and J. Z. Rubin (eds), Mediation in International Relations new edition (1994)
    A good collection of essays.[ buy this book ]
  • Louise Diamond and John McDonald, Multi-Track Diplomacy: A systems approach to peace 3rd ed (1996)
    One of the most popular books supporting this approach to mediation. Read in conjunction with Crocker et al, Herding Cats (see review).[ buy this book ]
  • Richard Holbrooke, To End a War (1998)
    Holbrooke headed the US team that grabbed the mediation in the Balkans and produced the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. This is the memoir of a muscular mediation. Now available in paperback; good value.[ buy this book ] [Kindle ed]
  • Gary Sick, All Fall Down: America’s fateful encounter with Iran (2001)
    Sick was the chief White House official handling the hostage crisis. As a result, this is a valuable primary source on the Algerian mediation that ended it.[ buy this book]
  • Saadia Touval, The Peace Brokers: Mediators in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-79 (1982)[buy this book]
  • Saadia Touval, Mediation in the Yugoslav Wars (2001)
    Touval is the scholar most closely associated with the view that successful mediators do not need to be impartial. This is his most recent book.[ buy this book ]

Novels about diplomacy and espionage written by former officers or – like Graham Greene – those who were still active in an unofficial capacity, have a special authenticity. As well as being enjoyable to those with a taste for the genre, they sometimes provide real insights into the minds and procedures of their crafts.

  • Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
    Secret Intelligence Service officer in the First World War, first in Switzerland and then in Russia; and in the American OSS (later CIA) in the Second World War. His novel Ashenden, based on his Swiss experience, was adapted for the cinema by Hitchcock as ‘Secret Agent’ (1936) (ODNB; Jeffery, MI6).
    Ashenden [buy this book] [Kindle ed] [buy DVD ‘Secret Agent’]
  • Stendhal (1783-1842)Real name Henri Beyle, French consul at the then Austrian imperial port of Trieste only briefly (winter of 1830-1) because the authorities took exception to his liberal views, and then at Civitavecchia near Rome (where the papal authorities were persuaded to swallow similar reservations), 1831 until his death. The publication of the first of his two most famous novels, Le Rouge et le Noir (translated usually The Red and the Black but sometimes Scarlet and Black), had coincided with the announcement of his appointment to Trieste. The second, La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma), was written while he was on a prolonged leave from Civitavecchia, of which he was not fond.The Red and the Black [buy this book] The Charterhouse of Parma [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • Kenneth Benton(1909-99)
    Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) officer from 1937 until 1968; find more information about him here.
    Sole Agent [Kindle ed] Spy in Chancery[Kindle ed] Vengeance in Venice [Kindle ed] Greek Fire [Kindle ed] Twenty-Fourth Level [buy this book]
  • Charles Forsyte (1920-2009)
    Real name: Gordon Charles George Philo. Long-serving and well regarded British intelligence officer. He was appointed with diplomatic cover at three British overseas posts in the decades after the Second World War: Istanbul (third secretary 1954), Ankara (second secretary 1957), and Hanoi (consul-general 1968); and as a liaison officer to the Malaysian government at KL, 1963. Between these postings and after his final foreign tour, he occupied influential positions at Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) headquarters in London until his retirement in 1978. He was in charge of training new entrants to SIS when David Cornwell (‘John le Carré’) switched from the Security Service (MI5) to SIS (MI6) in 1960. Diplomatic Death and Murder with Minarets are set in the British Consulate-General in Istanbul and the British diplomatic apartments complex in Ankara respectively, both of which he evidently knew well. The first of these novels is much the best. Philo was a keen amateur magician, and – astonishing to report – after his death his private notebook on the subject was found by Marco Pusteria in a second-hand bookshop in Cromer on the north Norfolk coast (FFB: The Detective Novels of Charles Forsyte, 17 October 2014; Marco Pusteria, ‘Spies, Magic, Manuscripts’, 20 July 2013;  The Times [obituary], 18 March 2009;  Foreign Office List, subsequently Diplomatic Service List).
    Diplomatic Death (1961)
    Diving Death (1962), published in the US under the title Dive into Danger
    Double Death (1965)
    Murder with Minarets (1968)
  • Lawrence Durrell (1912-90)
    Junior Press Officer British Emb Cairo, 1941; Press Attaché at British Information Office, Alexandria, 1942-5; Director of PR, Overseas Information Service on Rhodes, 1945-7; British Council lecturer, Cordoba Argentina, 1947-9; 1st Secretary (Information), British Embassy Belgrade, 1949-52; Press Adviser to British colonial administration in Cyprus, 1954-6.
    Bitter Lemons [buy this book] [Kindle ed] Not a novel but the best of what has been described as his ‘foreign residence genre’, this one set in Cyprus as the troubles of the then British colony started in the mid-1950s. The chapter on ‘How to Buy a House’ is a real page-turning account of the negotiating skills employed on Durrell’s behalf by the Turkish Cypriot estate agent (realtor) Sabri Tahir.
    The following slender volumes are the collections of Durrell’s hilarious short stories, narrated through the voice of the fictional diplomat ‘Antrobus’. Justly famous, they were inspired chiefly by Durrell’s time at the British embassy in Belgrade:
    Esprit de Corps: Sketches from Diplomatic Life [buy this book] [Kindle ed] Stiff Upper Lip [buy this book] Sauve Qui Peut [buy this book] They can also be obtained collected, in whole or in part, in one volume:
    The Best of Antrobus [buy this book] Antrobus Complete [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • Olivia Manning (1908-80)
    Married to a British Council lecturer (‘cultural diplomat’). Olivia Manning’s six novels set in Second World War Roumania, Greece, and the Middle East, now collectively known as the Fortunes of War [the Balkan Trilogy plus the Levant Trilogy] and adapted for television in 1987, are regarded as classics. I was interested to see in the very full piece on Manning in Wikipedia that she and her husband lived for a short time in Bucharest in early 1940 with John Hugh (‘Adam’) Watson, 3rd Secretary in the British Legation and later quite a well known writer on diplomacy.
    The Balkan Trilogy [buy this book] [buy this book – new ed] [Kindle ed] The Levant Trilogy [buy this book] [Kindle ed] Fortunes of War [buy the DVD]
  • Alan Judd
    Real name Alan Edwin Petty. Widely believed by spook-watchers to be a former senior officer in MI6, a suspicion I recall forming myself when some years ago I read his Quest for C: Sir Mansfield Cumming and the Founding of the British Secret Service (1999) [buy this book]. The vagueness of his entries in the Diplomatic Service List between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s is something of a give-away. The only number that says anything about him other than his rank (entering as 2nd Secretary and leaving as Counsellor) and his attachment to the ‘F.C.O.’ is the one that notes his posting as ‘Consul (Economic)’ at the British Consulate-General in Johannesburg in 1980. Hmmm. He made a hit with his first novel, A Breed of Heroes, which appeared shortly after this interlude in South Africa. This piece provides useful background on ‘Alan Judd’ and his many articles in The Spectator can be read here.
    A Breed of Heroes [buy this book] [Kindle ed] Short of Glory [buy this book] The Noonday Devil [buy this book] Tango [buy this book] The Devil’s Own Work [buy this book] Legacy [buy this book] The Kaiser’s Last Kiss [buy this book] Dancing with Eva [buy this book] [Kindle ed] Uncommon Enemy [buy this book] [Kindle ed] Inside Enemy [buy this book] [Kindle ed]
  • Anne Telscombe
    Real name Marie Dobbs (née Catton). She was the wife of Joe Dobbs, who served at the British embassy in Moscow for 14 years over four different postings between 1947 and 1974 and was regarded as Britain’s leading Kremlinologist during the Cold War. ‘Anne Telscombe’ was an Australian journalist who fetched up in Moscow and collaborated with Dobbs (then an ‘Information Officer’) on the embassy’s Russian-language weekly, Britansky Soyuznik (The British Ally) until this feared organ of British propaganda was slowly strangled by the Soviet authorities and expired at the end of 1948 (V. O. Pechatnov, ‘The Rise and Fall of Britansky Soyuznik’, Historical Journal, 41(1), 1998). After they married and she could no longer work she took to writing novels based on their postings. I am grateful to Jane Barder for alerting me to this novelist. Use abebooks.co.uk for the following titles, where you will find copies cheaper than the few available from Amazon:
    Miss Bagshot Goes to Moscow
    The Listener
    Miss Bagshot Goes to Tibet
  • André Brink
    A well known South African novelist.
    The Ambassador [buy this book]