The most recommended books about diplomacy

Who picked these books? Meet our 23 experts.

23 authors created a book list connected to diplomacy, and here are their favorite diplomacy books.
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Book cover of COVID-19: The Great Reset

Winston Dookeran Author Of The Caribbean on the Edge: The Political Stress of Stability, Equality, and Diplomacy

From my list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy.

Who am I?

As a student, I was intrigued by Newton’s laws of motion. As I grew older, I sought to understand how these laws apply in a real-world setting of economics and politics. I spent my full professional life in this search and held several positions – Minister of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank, Minister of Foreign Affairs. I was decorated over the years with several awards. I had a good education at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University. After it all, I still did not quite comprehend how Newton’s Laws work to advance the quality of life in communities and countries. The Caribbean on The Edge is a reflection of that journey.

Winston's book list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy

Winston Dookeran Why did Winston love this book?

This book sets the global challenge due to the Covid -19 pandemic. As such, taken together, the books bring into focus new thinking in the old orthodoxies in economic theory, and their arguments fit together. I believe that the World Economic Forum's claim of ‘inclusivity,' often challenged, could find a ready answer in my book that allows them an opportunity to include the plight of small Caribbean states in their focus.

By Klaus Schwab, Thierry Malleret,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked COVID-19 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"COVID-19: The Great Reset" is a guide for anyone who wants to understand how COVID-19 disrupted our social and economic systems, and what changes will be needed to create a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable world going forward. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Thierry Malleret, founder of the Monthly Barometer, explore what the root causes of this crisis were, and why they lead to a need for a Great Reset.

Theirs is a worrying, yet hopeful analysis. COVID-19 has created a great disruptive reset of our global social, economic, and political systems. But…


Book cover of Economic Institutions for a Resilient Caribbean

Winston Dookeran Author Of The Caribbean on the Edge: The Political Stress of Stability, Equality, and Diplomacy

From my list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy.

Who am I?

As a student, I was intrigued by Newton’s laws of motion. As I grew older, I sought to understand how these laws apply in a real-world setting of economics and politics. I spent my full professional life in this search and held several positions – Minister of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank, Minister of Foreign Affairs. I was decorated over the years with several awards. I had a good education at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University. After it all, I still did not quite comprehend how Newton’s Laws work to advance the quality of life in communities and countries. The Caribbean on The Edge is a reflection of that journey.

Winston's book list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy

Winston Dookeran Why did Winston love this book?

This book is a penetrating analysis of how economic institutions can foster a resilient economy. It is path-breaking in its search for sustainable development. I find this book to be ‘a bible’ for policy making and for students of economics, and provides a sound theoretical frame for policy initiatives. Linking the theory and practice of economics has been at the center of my main arguments.

Book cover of A Small State's Guide to Influence in World Politics

Winston Dookeran Author Of The Caribbean on the Edge: The Political Stress of Stability, Equality, and Diplomacy

From my list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy.

Who am I?

As a student, I was intrigued by Newton’s laws of motion. As I grew older, I sought to understand how these laws apply in a real-world setting of economics and politics. I spent my full professional life in this search and held several positions – Minister of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank, Minister of Foreign Affairs. I was decorated over the years with several awards. I had a good education at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University. After it all, I still did not quite comprehend how Newton’s Laws work to advance the quality of life in communities and countries. The Caribbean on The Edge is a reflection of that journey.

Winston's book list on political stress of stability, equality, and diplomacy

Winston Dookeran Why did Winston love this book?

This book explains why small states fail or succeed in world politics, and as such, set the parameters to assess Caribbean diplomacy and its promise and shortcomings. This book adds a compelling framework to my work, and I enjoyed reading this book, which was written "with clarity and rigor," according to noted scholar Anders Wivel.

By Tom Long,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Small State's Guide to Influence in World Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A complete guide for how small states can be strikingly successful and influential-if they assess their situations and adapt their strategies.

Small states are crucial actors in world politics. Yet, they have been relegated to a second tier of International Relations scholarship. In A Small State's Guide to Influence in World Politics, Tom Long shows how small states can identify opportunities and shape effective strategies to achieve their foreign policy goals. To do so, Long puts small states' relationships at the center of his approach. Although small states are defined by their position as materially weaker actors
vis-a-vis large states,…


Book cover of Prelude to Nuremberg: Allied War Crimes Policy and the Question of Punishment

Judith Armatta Author Of Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

From my list on war crimes trials and international justice.

Who am I?

I am a tired activist and recovering attorney. My professional focus on violence and humanity’s response to it began when, as a seven-year-old, the nuns at my Catholic school showed us newsreels of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. This led me to adopt as my life’s guiding principle Julian Beck’s admonition “to redeem our share of the universal cruelty.” After 20 years in the U.S. Violence Against Women Movement, I absconded to the former Yugoslavia and found myself in the middle of a war during which I ran a war crimes documentation project (memoir in progress). I later reported on the international war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Judith's book list on war crimes trials and international justice

Judith Armatta Why did Judith love this book?

Kochavi’s book gave me a more complete and nuanced understanding of how the Nuremberg war crimes court came to be, how defendants were selected, and what law to apply. Based on copious research, Kochavi uncovers the inside story of how the Allies ultimately agreed to establish an international court to hold Nazi officials accountable for mass atrocities instead of summarily executing them, which Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin favored. Initial U.S. and British resistance to including crimes against German nationals (extermination of the Jews among them) was overcome by strong public, especially Jewish, opposition.

By Arieh J. Kochavi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prelude to Nuremberg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between November 1945 and October 1946, the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg tried some of the most notorious political and military figures of Nazi Germany. The issue of punishing war criminals was widely discussed by the leaders of the Allied nations, however, well before the end of the war. As Arieh Kochavi demonstrates, the policies finally adopted, including the institution of the Nuremberg trials, represented the culmination of a complicated process rooted in the domestic and international politics of the war years.Drawing on extensive research, Kochavi painstakingly reconstructs the deliberations that went on in Washington and London at a time…


Book cover of The Maisky Diaries: Red Ambassador to the Court of St James's, 1932-1943

Andrew Nagorski Author Of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War

From my list on the view from London in 1941.

Who am I?

Award-winning journalist and historian Andrew Nagorski was born in Scotland to Polish parents, moved to the United States as an infant, and has rarely stopped moving since. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. In 1982, he gained international notoriety when the Kremlin, angered by his enterprising reporting, expelled him from the Soviet Union. Nagorski is the author of seven books, including The Nazi Hunters and Hitlerland.

Andrew's book list on the view from London in 1941

Andrew Nagorski Why did Andrew love this book?

Ivan Maisky served as the Soviet Union’s ambassador in London from 1932 to 1943. In his extensive diaries, he chronicled his frequent interactions with Churchill and other British officials. He predicted that 1941 would be “the decisive year of the war,” which proved accurate. But, like his boss Joseph Stalin, he refused to believe at first that Hitler would turn against the Soviet Union, with whom Germany had signed a non-aggression pact. His diary shows how quickly the Kremlin acted as if it had always opposed Hitler’s plans—and made increasingly strident demands for Western aid. The makings of the future Cold War are already evident in this account.

By Ivan Maisky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Maisky Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Highlights of the extraordinary wartime diaries of Ivan Maisky, Soviet ambassador to London

The terror and purges of Stalin's Russia in the 1930s discouraged Soviet officials from leaving documentary records let alone keeping personal diaries. A remarkable exception is the unique diary assiduously kept by Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London between 1932 and 1943. This selection from Maisky's diary, never before published in English, grippingly documents Britain's drift to war during the 1930s, appeasement in the Munich era, negotiations leading to the signature of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Churchill's rise to power, the German invasion of Russia, and the…


Book cover of The Silent Guns of Two Octobers: Kennedy and Khrushchev Play the Double Game

Sheldon M. Stern Author Of The Week the World Stood Still: Inside the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis

From my list on Cuban Missile Crisis.

Who am I?

In early 1981, the JFK Library began the process of declassifying the Cuban missile crisis ExComm tapes; as the Library’s Historian, the responsibility for reviewing these recordings was mine—and it changed my life. I spent most of the next two years listening to the tapes from the legendary 13 Days (and subsequently from the November “post-crisis”). I was the first non-ExComm participant and professional historian to hear and evaluate these unique and definitive historical recordings. After the tapes were declassified in the late 1990s, I wrote three books (published by Stanford University Press) about their historical importance.

Sheldon's book list on Cuban Missile Crisis

Sheldon M. Stern Why did Sheldon love this book?

Voorhees' assessment of John F. Kennedy's leadership during the Cuban missile crisis is strikingly different from most books on the subject. He examines JFK's decision-making through the lens of the president's domestic political concerns and use of back-channel diplomacy with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev rather than through the conventional workings of his foreign and national security policy establishments. He also challenges the prevailing view that Kennedy's ultimate strategy for resolving the crisis was primarily shaped by the “ExComm” or by the top officials at the Pentagon, State Department, and CIA. Voorhees insists, supported by an impressive array of evidence, that the Cuban missile crisis did not bring the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon and his book promises to become an integral part of the historical conversation.

By Theodore Voorhees,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Silent Guns of Two Octobers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Silent Guns of Two Octobers uses new as well as previously under-appreciated documentary evidence to link the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Checkpoint Charlie tank standoff to achieve the impossible-craft a new, thoughtful, original analysis of a political showdown everyone thought they knew everything about. Ultimately the book concludes that much of the Cold War rhetoric the leaders employed was mere posturing; in reality neither had any intention of starting a nuclear war. Theodore Voorhees reexamines Khrushchev's and Kennedy's leadership, decision, and rhetoric in light of the new documentary evidence available. Voorhees examines the impact of John F. Kennedy's…


Book cover of The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev's Adaptability, Reagan's Engagement, and the End of the Cold War

John Philipp Baesler Author Of Clearer Than Truth: The Polygraph and the American Cold War

From my list on Russia in Western eyes.

Who am I?

Growing up in West Germany, surrounded by American soldiers and with a father who had escaped communist East Germany, the Cold War always fascinated me. What was it about? Would it ever end? When it did, it took everybody by surprise. This lesson, that nothing is certain and that history can always make a turn when you least expect it, stayed with me as I pursued my degrees in history, first in Heidelberg and then at Indiana University Bloomington. As an immigrant to the United States, I study the United States from the outside and the inside. How Americans see themselves, and how they see others, is my main interest that I keep exploring from different angles.

John's book list on Russia in Western eyes

John Philipp Baesler Why did John love this book?

This book tells it like it is: The end of the Cold War was not the fulfillment of President Reagan’s grand plan to destroy communism, but neither was it the natural outcome of the decline of the Soviet Empire. In Wilson’s telling, based on an array of documents from both sides of the Iron Curtain, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism were, more than anything else, an accident. At crucial points, decision-makers on both sides made the right calls, but they had to respond to events that increasingly took on a dynamic of their own. I love this book because it emphasizes that history is chaos: Not random, but unpredictable!

By James Graham Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Triumph of Improvisation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Triumph of Improvisation, James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 to Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. Drawing on deep archival research and recently declassified papers, Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the specter of a nuclear holocaust. Amid ambivalence and uncertainty, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, George Shultz, and George H. W. Bush-and a host of other actors-engaged with adversaries and adapted to a rapidly changing international environment and information age in which global…


Book cover of The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West

Mark Hollingsworth Author Of Agents of Influence: How the KGB Subverted Western Democracies

From my list on the KGB, Russia and espionage.

Who am I?

I have been writing about Russia for the past 20 years for all the UK national newspapers, The Spectator and contributed to several TV documentaries. I am fascinated by Russia which is a unique country and has been a major influence on the world for the past 100 years. Based on new documents, my book Londongrad - From Russia with Cash revealed how Russian Oligarchs made their wealth, moved it out of Russia, hid their fortunes and then parked and spent it in London. My new book - Agents of Influence - provides an insight into how the KGB influenced the West based on new archives.

Mark's book list on the KGB, Russia and espionage

Mark Hollingsworth Why did Mark love this book?

Based on an unprecedented treasure trove of documents smuggled out of the Soviet Union by former intelligence officer Vasily Mitrokhin, this book demonstrated the KGB operations used in an attempt to destabilise the West during the Cold War - disinformation, forgery of documents, honey trapping, smears, surveillance and recruiting agents of influence and politicians in the UK, NATO countries and the USA.

I am recommending The Mitrokhin Archive because it is based on primary documents.  So many books about espionage are based on memories and speculation, while the Mitrokhin Archive's value is that its assertions and revelations are based on actual KGB documents. 

And so this book was indispensable for my research for my book.

By Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mitrokhin Archive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of the biggest intelligence coups in recent years' The Times

For years KGB operative Vasili Mitrokhin risked his life hiding top-secret material from Russian secret service archives beneath his family dacha. When he was exfiltrated to the West he took with him what the FBI called 'the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source'. This extraordinary bestselling book is the result.

'Co-authored in a brilliant partnership by Christopher Andrew and the renegade Soviet archivist himself ... This is a truly global expose of major KGB penetrations throughout the Western world' The Times

'This tale of malevolent…


Book cover of A Foreign Affair

John B. Campbell Author Of A Lark Ascending

From my list on British mysteries of the Victorian Era.

Who am I?

As a fine arts major alumnus of Lake Forest College and Illinois Wesleyan University, I have written a variety of works, fiction and non, throughout my professional life. My preferred literary escape became the genre of British Mystery. I learned much from reading Martha Grimes in the 1990s. Her use of interplay between a character’s internal psychic landscape and the surrounding one interested me. As a mystery writer, I employ what I think of as light brushstrokes of the cozy genre while aiming for some depth of prose. A Lark Ascending has been described as an engaging escape from today.

John's book list on British mysteries of the Victorian Era

John B. Campbell Why did John love this book?

The year is 1837 and Liberty is a fiercely independent young woman. The story begins with her crossing the Channel to find her father, only to discover that he had recently been killed in a duel. In the course of investigating what had happened, she comes upon a plot that involves treason, with the potential to spark another civil war.

What I love about Peacock’s work is her use of imagery in echoing a character’s psyche or situation. Horse lovers will enjoy Liberty’s relationship with her horse and her growing friendship with her good-hearted stable hand. I have not yet put my finger on it, but for some reason, I feel a hint of Edgar Allen Poe when I read her books.

By Caro Peacock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Foreign Affair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A remarkable debut novel rich in atmosphere, color, and suspense, Caro Peacock's A Foreign Affair is an irresistible blend of history, adventure, and ingenious invention that brings an extraordinary new writer—and a truly endearing and unforgettable heroine—to the literary stage.

The year is 1837. Queen Victoria, barely eighteen, has just ascended to the throne of England, and a young woman named Liberty Lane has just had her first taste of true sorrow. Refusing to accept that her gentle, peace-loving father has been killed fighting a duel, she vows to see justice done. . . .

The trail she follows is…


Book cover of The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal

David J. Dunford Author Of From Sadat to Saddam: The Decline of American Diplomacy in the Middle East

From my list on understanding how to fix U.S. diplomacy.

Who am I?

My passion is fixing our diplomacy. Relatively late in my career, I found a new home working with and for some of the Foreign Service’s most talented people. My assignments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia (during the 1990-91 Gulf War) led to my appointment as ambassador in Oman. After retirement I returned to Cairo to set up a regional multilateral development bank (we were unsuccessful) and later rebuild Iraq’s foreign ministry. I experienced the negative and frustrating impact of politicization and militarization on our foreign policy. Knowing we can and must do better motivated me to write From Sadat to Saddam and to commend to you the five books below.    

David's book list on understanding how to fix U.S. diplomacy

David J. Dunford Why did David love this book?

As good as the professionals in Richter’s book were, Bill Burns might be the best role model. He served as U.S. ambassador in Moscow. He became Deputy Secretary of State and was instrumental in negotiating the Iran nuclear agreement. Now CIA Director, I suspect he orchestrated the release of intelligence on Russia’s plans which led to a unified NATO response to the invasion of Ukraine. I first met Bill, then a junior officer, in Amman, and knew he was headed for great things. Although he had misgivings about our policies toward Iraq, Russia, and Syria, sadly, his dissent was ignored. He wonders in The Back Channel whether he should have resigned. Happily, he is back in government where his ideas for renewing American diplomacy might get a better reception.  

By William J. Burns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Back Channel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A masterful diplomatic memoir” (The Washington Post) from CIA director and career ambassador William J. Burns, from his service under five presidents to his personal encounters with Vladimir Putin and other world leaders—an impassioned argument for the enduring value of diplomacy in an increasingly volatile world.

Over the course of more than three decades as an American diplomat, William J. Burns played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time—from the bloodless end of the Cold War to the collapse of post–Cold War relations with Putin’s Russia, from post–9/11 tumult in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle…