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Patrick Wright’s memoir opens on a diplomatic crisis. A growing number of countries are threatening to boycott the Commonwealth Games in protest of the British government’s handling of South African apartheid. And the problems only get worse.
Patrick Wright was one of the pre-eminent diplomats of his day, putting him at the forefront of some of the late twentieth century’s most important global events. His six years at the FCO found him dealing with the backlash from the Falklands War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, strained relations with the EU, the First Gulf War and, perhaps most challenging of all, the ‘fire and glares’ of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Lord Wright’s account is not only an essential documentation of a significant historical period, but witty and entertaining throughout. He revels in gossip, despairs at the mischievous press ‘painting lurid pictures of Britain versus the Rest’, recalls numerous amusing scenarios and is rather brutal in his assessment of various high-profile political figures.