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)’.
Ball, George, Diplomacy for a Crowded World (1976). A brilliant polemic against summitry.
Barder, Brian, What Diplomats Do: The life and work of diplomats (2014). Ch. 6: an engaging account of work in a permanent mission to the UN in New York.
Brown, Gordon, My Life, Our Times (2017). In Ch. 16, then British prime minister Gordon Brown provides a very illuminating account of how the G20 London Summit in April 2009 was organized to help prevent a major world depression following the financial crisis of 2008–9.
Cohen, Raymond, Theatre of Power: The art of diplomatic signalling (1987). This brilliant book on non-verbal communication is not expressly focussed on summitry but, with its great emphasis on ‘the leader’, bears on it indirectly in the most intimate manner.
Dunn, David H. (ed), Diplomacy at the Highest Level: The evolution of international summitry (1996). A first class collection of essays on the subject and still one of the best books on the subject, topped and tailed by the editor. The largest section deals with institutionalized summits, and includes one by Richard Hodder-Williams on African summitry.
Haass, Richard N., ‘Summing Up the Trump Summits’, 25 July 2018, Council on Foreign Relations. A short but very strong piece; prefers to reserve the term ‘summit’ for meetings of ‘significance’.
Macmillan, Margaret, Seize the Hour: When Nixon met Mao (2006). The summit between US President Nixon and Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1972 marked a turning point in twentieth century history and no-one was better qualified to record it than international historian Margaret Macmillan.
Patrick, Stewart, ‘The New “New Multilateralism”: Minilateral cooperation, but at what cost?’, Global Summitry, vol. 1 (2), Winter 2015. Rather congested but drives to a compelling conclusion nevertheless.
Reynolds, David, Summits: Six meetings that shaped the twentieth century (2007). Diplomatic historian David Reynolds is a major contributor to the debate on summitry. This book covers the period from 1938 until 1985.
Sievers, Loraine and Sam Daws, The Procedure of the UN Security Council, 4th ed (2014).
The holy book on the subject: comprehensive, clear, authoritative, 725 pages with extensive appendices and excellent index.
World Health Assembly, 73rd, ‘Written silence procedure for the consideration of proposals by the Seventy-third World Health Assembly between its de minimis and resumed sessions’, WHA73(7), 19 May 2020. The one-page annex to this short document explains the WHA’s version of this important procedure very clearly.
Young, John W., Twentieth Century Diplomacy (2008). Chs. 6 (Bilateral summits) and 7 (Multilateral diplomacy) in this outstanding work published by Cambridge University Press.