The World As It Is. "The Hot Seat: Reflections on Diplomacy From Stalin's Death to the Bali Bombings" by Richard Woolcott. [review]
One of the puzzles of Australia’s diplomatic service is the comparative lack of informative memoirs by senior diplomats. Of the sixteen heads of Foreign Affairs mentioned in this book, only three apart from Richard Woolcott - Alan Watt, Alan Renouf and Peter Henderson - have written memoirs. Perhaps thisis one reason for the lack of a profound appreciation of international affairs in Australia, which Woolcott so deplores. This book, however, is a substantial contribution to the literature, situated firmly in the realist tradition, and is probably the best memoir to date from a former Australian diplomat. The lighter side of the book should not detract from the overall impression of a very thoughtful, comprehensive and important addition to our understanding of Australia’s diplomacy and its place in the world, and the contribution of a major practitioner over the past forty years. "The Hot Seat" is also a good read. Those who seek entertainment should turn straight to the hilarious Liberia dispatch.