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The Spanish Ambassador's Suitcase: Stories from the Diplomatic Bag (edition 2012)

by Matthew Parris, Andrew Bryson

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131723,089 (4.25)2
Member:pinkozcat
Title:The Spanish Ambassador's Suitcase: Stories from the Diplomatic Bag
Authors:Matthew Parris
Other authors:Andrew Bryson
Info:Viking (2012), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Parris & Bryson, BBC Radio, Non-fiction

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THE SPANISH AMBASSADOR'S SUITCASE: Stories from the Diplomatic Bag by Matthew Parris

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Laugh out loud funny in parts, interesting reading about the impressions of British Diplomats in various parts of the world - mostly the countries which one rarely reads about; and the valedictory report from Hanoi frankly horrified me.

It is customary for diplomats to file a report of 'first impressions' three months after taking up a new post and another one when they leave. These make very interesting reading as do the comments preceding each report. My only disappointment was the valedictory report from the Vatican but suspect that to say more could have been political dynamite.

This is a book which will be added to my permanent collection. Each report is short and is therefore a book which can be picked up and read almost at random.

My main feeling, having read all the reports was ... NEVER marry into the Diplomatic Corps; those poor women. ( )
  pinkozcat | Jan 1, 2013 |
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Book description
Heard the one about he Spanish Ambassador who arrived in the scorching Saharan desert fully suited and with a mysteriously enormous suitcase? Or the horse they gave Prime Minister John Major in Turkmenistan - which hapless embassy officials had to rescue from the clutches of the Moscow railway?

For generations, ambassadors' final despatches have allowed British diplomats to share a snigger into their starched sleeves with colleagues back in London. From the absurdities of diplomatic protocol to the ego-mania of foreign leaders, Her Majesty's official representatives saw it all, and wrote it down.

Some of these letters were written simply to entertain. But there was another kind of despatch, circulated widely across government, with a more serious purpose: the First Impression. After three months a new Ambassador was encouraged to put down on paper his first thoughts on his new posting. It was the perfect opportunity to wax lyrical or express distain, to show off or profess lofty ignorance, but most of all to cast a fresh light on some foreign field.
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Drawn from the National Archives and from Freedom of Information requests these dispatches make up another volume of entertaining and illuminating stories from the diplomatic bag.

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