I list below, in categories corresponding roughly to the chapters in my textbook, Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 6th ed (2022), books (and a few articles) that I believe valuable to all students of diplomacy. Those dealing with embassy substitutes, such as representative offices, are included under ‘Modern bilateral diplomacy’. The list is obviously not exhaustive. I have tried to restrict myself to recommending my own books to categories where I think other works are a bit thin on the ground. See also my Book Reviews and the ‘Further reading’ at the bottom of the ‘Updating’ pages for each chapter of the textbook.
This page also contains sections on ‘Novels by Former Diplomats and Intelligence Officers’ and ‘Political Thrillers and Historical Novels (by other writers)’.
Barker, J. Craig, The Abuse of Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities: A Necessary Evil? (1996). Prompted by the shooting dead of a British policewoman from the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984, Barker’s book considers the question from every angle. However, it was criticised in a very sharp review by Hazel Fox in the International and Comparative Law Quarterly (vol. 46, no. 3, July 1997) for adopting a ‘curiously narrow view of abuse’, dismissing it as simply not arising in the case of diplomatic ‘privileges’ in such matters as taxation, as opposed to ‘immunities’ from enforcement procedures.
Barker, J. Craig, The Protection of Diplomatic Personnel (2006). A well-received general account of the problem and how it is tackled.
Behrens, Paul, Diplomatic Interference and the Law (2016). I reviewed this weighty book here.
Berridge, G. R., Diplomatic Classics: Selected texts from Commynes to Vattel (2004). Chs. on Gentili, Grotius, Bynkershoek, and Vattel.
Cahier, P., ‘The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations’, International Conciliation, vol. 37, 1969. As I recall, this article concentrates on the changes (or, as lawyers prefer to say, ‘developments’) in the customary law made by the VCDR.
Denza, Eileen, Diplomatic Law: Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 4th ed (2016). The work of a former legal counsellor in the FCO, Eileen Denza’s book, published by Oxford University Press, provides the definitive text on the VCDR (1961). As she says at the end of a short introduction, ‘It is intended principally as a practitioner’s handbook. Each Article or group of Articles is placed in the context of the previous customary international law, the negotiating history is described insofar as it remains illuminating, ambiguities or difficulties of interpretation are analysed, and the subsequent state practice is described.’
Kerley, E. L., ‘Some Aspects of the Vienna Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities’, American Journal of International Law, vol. 56, 1962. Interesting as the reaction of a member of the US delegation to the conference that produced the VCDR.
Shaw, Malcolm N., International Law, 9th ed (2021), Ch. 12 includes a short but spot-on treatment of the subject. While he was still at Leicester (he is now at Cambridge), Malcolm and I taught a Diplomatic Law course together. He did the hard stuff.
Young, E., ‘The development of the law of diplomatic relations’, British Journal of International Law, vol. 40, 1964. A very useful piece.
See also Primary sources for study.