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)’.

  1. Barder, Brian, What Diplomats Do: The Life and Work of Diplomats (2014). See this page for my praise of this book.
  2. Berridge, G. R., Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 6th ed (2022). This new edition is due to be published in January.
  3. Berridge, G. R. and Lorna Lloyd, The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy, 3rd edition (2012). In the first two editions, my co-author was Alan James.  The biographical sketches, introduced to illustrate some entries and provide colour to the book, were my own work. The dictionary has 401 pages, each of which is presented in two columns. It provides different ‘senses’ of the same term, the most commonly used as a rule listed first; and ample cross references.
  4. Bull, Hedley, The Anarchical Society: A study of order in world politics (1977). See especially Part 2 and, in this part, Ch. 7, Diplomacy and International Order. Bull was a major figure in the ‘English school of International Relations’.
  5. 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 always recommended this textbook as one that was complementary to my own.
  6. Kissinger, Henry A., The White House Years (1979). Kissinger, originally an academic, was US President Richard Nixon’s National Security Advisor and eventually Secretary of State. He is famous for the rapprochement with Communist China, detente with the Soviet Union, the extraction of the United States from Vietnam, and keeping the lid on Egypt-Israel tensions following the October War in 1973. This is the first and by far the most important volume of his memoirs. I list it here for two reasons: first, because it fired my own interest in diplomacy, on which subject it has a great deal, for example on  ‘linkage’ (I used to run a third-year undergraduate course focussed just on this book); and second, because it really irritates me that Kissinger’s later book, Diplomacy (1994), regularly forces my own Diplomacy: Theory and Practice into second place in G0ogle Scholar’s ‘diplomacy’ list by a huge margin, despite the fact that it is not a book about diplomacy at all but about statecraft! (On the concept of statecraft, see the entry in our Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy.)
  7. Rana, Kishan S., 21st Century Diplomacy (2011). [review]
  8. Roberts, Sir Ivor (ed), Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, 7th ed (2016). The British scholar-diplomat, Sir Ernest Satow, first published A Guide to Diplomatic Practice in 1917. This was followed by a revised edition in 1922, but he died in 1929 and all subsequent editions have been revised by recently retired British diplomats. It is the most respected English language manual of the profession. The current edition has 747 pages (including index) but is easy to navigate via a detailed contents list. For the first time, its chapters are individually authored.