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The dangers of absolutism, John Larkindale

Balancing Acts: Reflections of a New Zealand Diplomat
Gerald McGhie
Dunmore, $35.00
ISBN 978927212318

Friends and relations often suggest to diplomats following their retirement that they should write a book about their experiences. Not so, in my view; the world has little to gain from the reminiscences of run-of-the-mill former officials, no matter how personally interesting, quirky or even challenging their lives may have been. There are, of course, exceptions, especially in cases where the author was substantively involved in critical diplomatic events of the day. Into this category, I place memoirs such as Dean Acheson’s Present at the Creation, Anatoly Dobrynin’s In Confidence and, in a New Zealand context, Gerald Hensley’s Final Approaches.

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