History does not run in straight lines. Instead of inevitable progress, what we get is more often false starts, blind alleys, random events, good intentions that go wrong. Robert Cooper’s incisive and elegant book is therefore not a continuous diplomatic history. Richelieu and Mazarin inhabited a 16th-century world we can hardly imagine today, but it is from their time that we can begin to see the outline of today’s Europe.
The Ambassadors includes a brilliant analysis of the people who built the Western side of the Cold War. Henry Kissinger is a pivotal figure in the post-war world, and his story is in some ways typical: he failed in his most important aims and succeeded in ways he never expected. Robert Cooper’s pieces together history and considers the illuminating fragments it leaves behind.
Robert Cooper has a lifelong experience of diplomacy in the British Foreign Office and the European Union. His new book is based on wide reading and meticulous attention to detail. It is fluently written in a limpid and comfortable prose...a subtle analysis of the nature of international relations and the creative way brilliant people have used a combination of diplomacy and force to manage the convoluted problems which relations between countries always throw up... A vivid and penetrating account of the major international crises of the past 70 years and the people who handled them -- Rodric Braithwaite * THE SPECTATOR * Told with erudition and con molto brio ... The author's reflections on the nature and uses of power as on the art of negotiation deserve full attention -- Francois Heisbourg * FINANCIAL TIMES * This book's often critical analysis is as good a primer on Kissinger as there is to be found * Irish Times *
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