The Hitchhiker's Guide to Diplomacy Leigh Turner

Diplomacy: The Hitchhiker’s Guide

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

Diplomacy – what’s it all about? Here’s an easy-to-read step-by step guide from a diplomat and ambassador who spend 42 years working for Her Majesty.

Diplomacy has been good to me

From 1979 to 2021, I worked for Her Majesty the Queen, for 38 of those years as a Foreign Office diplomat and ambassador. My “diplomatic and life handbook” explores the lessons we all can learn from diplomacy.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Diplomacy – Wie Diplomatie die Welt erklärt” is available as a German hardback and e-book from Czernin Verlag, from good book shops, and from Amazon.

Diplomacy - Leigh Turner
My book

Diplomacy: wonderful colleagues and extraordinary experiences

In my 42-year career I had wonderful colleagues and extraordinary experiences. I travelled and worked in places from Vladivostok and Tokyo via Beijing, Hong Kong, Moscow, Kyiv, Berlin, Vienna and Istanbul to St Helena, Bermuda, Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires, London, and even Brussels.

How, where and why does diplomacy happen, and what can it teach the rest of us? What can Jonathan the tortoise on Saint Helena tell us about institutional stability? Why is diplomatic immunity a necessary evil?  I explain why you can’t cure international terrorism; how unknown enemies are scariest. I explain why you should never over-estimate authoritarian leaders, from Putin to Saddam Hussein. We meet extraordinary people. They include great women: The Queen, Vivienne Westwood and Jane Goodall. Or US former C-17 pilot Brigadier General Lyn Sherlock. I describe Paul McCartney and the wisdom of Deep Purple to. And I discuss meeting Satan, one night in Moscow.

I examine Russia’s war against Ukraine – why it happened, and what we can do about it.

How to read the book

Publishers Czernin Verlag published the book first in German. This makes the German edition the original, or Erstausgabe. You can order it as a hard-back or e-book, direct from Czernin Verlag (click on link). You can buy it from your local bookshop, particularly in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. And it’s available from Amazon.

You can read the book two ways.

The first way is to dip into it, and read bits about diplomacy that particularly interest you. You can read about diplomatic immunity, the Berlin Wall, Hong Kong, the Overseas Territories, or the future of diplomacy. Sections examine features of diplomacy that everyone knows about and may be intrigued by. How do you get invited to an embassy? What are cocktail parties really like and what are they for? What do diplomats actually do all day? But it also contains a lot of serious and unexpected stuff. What does Vladimir Putin not understand about Ukraine? Why can’t diplomacy stop terrorism? How come the UK or US intervene in some crises but not in others?

The second way to read the book is cover-to-cover. Some kind readers tell me that it’s a great read. I’d be keen to know what you think – reviews welcome!

How did I write my book about diplomacy?

My recent post sets out about how the book came about.

Want a sneak preview?

For excerpts from the book, see my posts:

Brexit and diplomacy: end of an era

Thanks for reading. The book also analyses Brexit and the experience of a British ambassador in the EU from 2016 to January 2020. I hope you enjoy it more than I enjoyed lowering the EU flag at the British Embassy in Vienna on 31 January 2020.

Lowering the EU flag at the British Embassy in Vienna, 31 January 2020


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4 Responses

  1. Ambassador Leigh Turner,
    Great following your work and publications. Remember that as a career diplomat you are always a diplomat and exhiibit such exceptional experience in diplomacy.I am pleased and privileged to have access to your publications.

  2. Ein Buch über das Arbeitsleben als Diplomat unter einer der härtesten Arbeitgeber zensuren der Welt zu schreiben, „ohne ins Detail zu gehen“, scheint eine unmögliche (Sisyphos-) Aufgabe zu sein.

    Ohne Details und Interna preiszugeben, hat Leigh Turner seine unvergleichliche diplomatische Erfahrung auf ungewöhnliche und geniale Weise in seinem „Tausend“ Einsichten/Fenster Buch (als kurze Episoden seines Berufslebens) einen klaren und verständlichen Überblick über Diplomatie vermittelt, auch für diejenigen, die nicht „zwischen den Zeilen lesen“.

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