Undiplomatic humour?

by
December 2007–January 2008, no. 297
Buy this book

Undiplomatic Activities by Richard Wollcott, illustrations by David Rowe

Scribe, $35 hb, 202 pp

Undiplomatic humour?

by
December 2007–January 2008, no. 297

Are ambassadors anachronistic these days, or do top-secret cables and personal finesse still outflank headlines and blogs? In his new book, Richard Woolcott, one of Australia’s most experienced former diplomats, quotes a French colleague who believes that ‘we have become a combination of travel agent, messenger boy, and inn keeper’. Yet Woolcott’s autobiography, The Hot Seat (2003), exemplifies historian Charles Webster’s definition of diplomacy: ‘… obtaining the maximum national interest with a minimum of friction and resentment’ – a rather more significant role. Perhaps this is because Ambassador Woolcott’s career spanned most of the second half of the twentieth century (he retired in 1992), when individuals found it easier to make an impact on what he calls ‘probably the world’s second oldest profession’. 

Joan Grant reviews 'Undiplomatic Activities' by Richard Woolcott, illustrated by David Rowe

Undiplomatic Activities

by Richard Wollcott, illustrations by David Rowe

Scribe, $35 hb, 202 pp

Buy this book

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