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Mike Maclay's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Mike Maclay recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Mike Maclay's favorite book recommendations of all time.

From a highly decorated general, a brilliant new way of understanding war and its role in the twenty-first century.

Drawing on his vast experience as a commander during the first Gulf War, and in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Northern Ireland, General Rupert Smith gives us a probing analysis of modern war. He demonstrates why today’s conflicts must be understood as intertwined political and military events, and makes clear why the current model of total war has failed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other recent campaigns. Smith offers a compelling contemporary vision for how to secure our world...
Recommended by Mike Maclay, Mary Kaldor, and 2 others.

Mike MaclayWhat Smith sees is that making war has increasingly had to encompass the disciplines usually understood in diplomacy. (Source)

Mary KaldorThe era of industrial war, of Clausewitzian war, is over, that war is not fought by soldiers against other soldiers any more. (Source)

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Recommended by Mike Maclay, and 1 others.

Mike MaclayThe Search for Peace by Douglas Hurd, who was UK Foreign Secretary for seven years from 1989, just after the fall of the Wall. He wrote it soon after stepping down. It’s a fine book, which for its day was quite comprehensive and authoritative. It’s a bit of a modern primer, which explains the techniques of bilateral diplomacy as well as multilateral diplomacy, and really deals with the failures... (Source)

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The Laughing Diplomat

Autobiografie van de Italiaanse diplomaat Daniele Varè. less
Recommended by Mike Maclay, and 1 others.

Mike MaclayIt’s called The Laughing Diplomat by Daniele Varè, who was an Italian diplomat in the 1920s and 30s. I got it from my grandmother as a jeune diplomat, and it seemed to be a crummy second-hand bookshop number that should be off to Oxfam. But it was a fascinating book! Because what Varè captures is the excitement of representation, and the elegance of it as a profession in those days, from a time... (Source)

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Paris 1919

Six Months that Changed the World

'Without question, Margaret MacMillan's Paris 1919 is the most honest and engaging history ever written about those fateful months after World War I when the maps of Europe were redrawn. Brimming with lucid analysis, elegant character sketches, and geopolitical pathos, it is essential reading.'

Between January and July 1919, after "the war to end all wars," men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. Center stage, for the first time in history, was an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people...
Recommended by James Purnell, Mike Maclay, and 2 others.

James PurnellShe focuses on the meeting between Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson that decided what the new boundaries would be for the world at Versailles in 1919. (Source)

Mike MaclayThe beautiful story she tells is how men of goodwill did try to make the Second World War impossible. (Source)

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Recommended by Alexander Stubb, Mike Maclay, and 2 others.

Alexander StubbA brilliant book by @carlbildt. About: The New World Disorder. Includes: historical analysis and personal experiences. Written: analytically and well. Combines: theory and practice. A must: for all interested in international relations. Should: be translated into many languages. (Source)

Mike MaclayBildt is a former Swedish Prime Minister from the early 90s, who became European Representative in the Balkans after the war. He didn’t have an especially dynamic role, because in the summer of 1995 the Americans were increasingly committing themselves – partly because of the fall of Srebrenica, partly because they lost some very good men in the course of their own attempts to mediate – and it... (Source)

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