Leiden University logo.

nl en

Books for Review

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy regularly publishes book reviews of approx. 800-1000 words. We are accepting reviews of the selected books below, as well as any other contribution within the field of diplomacy and global affairs.

If you are interested in writing a book review, please contact our editors Constance Ducombe and Sophie Vériter to obtain a copy and for further information.

To read our published book reviews, click here.


Diplomatic Studies

Book cover: Global Diplomacy and International Society
Global Diplomacy and International Society
Yolanda Kemp Spies
Palgrave Macmillan

This book is a comprehensive overview of the theory, history, law, institutional framework and culture of global diplomacy. It reflects on the key existential challenges to the institution and addresses aspects that are often overlooked in diplomatic studies: inter alia diplomatic law, development-driven diplomacy and the bureaucracy of diplomatic practice. All chapters are extensively illustrated with recent case examples from across the world. Special emphasis is placed on incorporating perspectives from Africa and other developing regions in the Global South, so as to balance the Eurocentrism of traditional diplomatic literature.

Book cover: Consuls and Captives
Consuls and Captives: Dutch-North African Diplomacy in the Early Modern Mediterranean
Erica Heinsen-Roach
Boydell & Brewer

This work offers a new perspective on the history of diplomacy in the western Mediterranean, examining how piracy and captivity at sea forced Protestant states from northwest Europe to develop complex relationships with Islamic North Africa. Tracing how Dutch diplomats and North African officials negotiated the liberation of Dutch sailors enslaved in the Maghrib, author Erica Heinsen-Roach argues that captivity and redemption helped shape (rather than undermine) a new diplomatic order in the western Mediterranean.

Diplomatic Tenses: A social evolutionary perspective on diplomacy
Iver B. Neumann
Manchester University Press

Offering an alternative and a complement to existing histories of diplomacy, this book discusses change in the form of 'tipping points', which it understands as the culmination of long-term trends. Part I discusses social evolution on the general level of institutions. It argues that in cases where a diplomatic institution's tipping points are defined by the types of entities that make it up, the consular institution has evolved from concerning polities of independent traders to becoming ever more of a state concern. Part II challenges the existing literature's treatment of diplomacy as an elite, textual affair. It lays the groundwork for studying visual diplomacy and observes that the increasingly marginal vision of diplomacy as a confrontation between good and evil survives in popular culture. The book concludes by identifying the future of diplomacy as a struggle between state-to-state based diplomacy and diplomacy as networked global governance.

Global South Perspectives on Diplomacy
Yolanda Kemp Spies
Palgrave Macmillan

This volume is a comprehensive overview of the various methods used in contemporary diplomatic practice. It incorporates the traditional modes of diplomacy and explains how these modes have evolved to deal with a burgeoning international community of state and non-state actors, the information and communications revolution and the changing profile of global conflict. The pursuit of “development diplomacy” is an integral part of the project, with due attention to the fault-lines, microcosms of power-politics and rapid evolution within the society of states that make up the Global South. All chapters are extensively illustrated with recent case examples from across the world.

Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age 
Natalia Grincheva

Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age explores online museums as sites of contemporary cultural diplomacy.  Building on scholarship that highlights how museums can constitute and regulate citizens, construct national communities, and project messages across borders, the book explores the political powers of museums in their online spaces. Demonstrating that digital media allow museums to reach far beyond their physical locations, Grincheva investigates whether online audiences are given the tools to co-curate museums and their collections to establish new pathways for international cultural relations, exchange and, potentially, diplomacy. Evaluating the online capacities of museums to exert cultural impacts, the book illuminates how online museum narratives shape audience perceptions and redefine their cultural attitudes and identities.  Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age will be of interest to academics and students teaching or taking courses on museums and heritage, communication and media, cultural studies, cultural diplomacy, international relations and digital humanities. It will also be useful to practitioners around the world who want to learn more about the effect digital museum experiences have on international audiences.

Soft Power: The Forces of Attraction in International Relations
Hendrik W. Ohnesorge
Springer International

This book explores the phenomenon of soft power in international relations. In the context of current discourses on power and global power shift s it puts forward a comprehensive taxonomy of soft power and outlines a methodological roadmap for its empirical study. To that end the book classifies soft power into distinct components - resources instruments reception and outcomes - and identifies relevant indicators for each of these categories. Moreover the book integrates previously neglected aspects into the concept of soft power including the significance of (political) personalities. A broad range of historical examples is drawn upon to illustrate the effects of soft power in international relations in an innovative and analytically differentiated way. A central methodological contribution of this book consists in highlighting the value of comparative-historical analysis (CHA) as a promising approach for empirical analyses of the soft power of different actors on the international stage. By introducing a comprehensive taxonomy of soft power the book offers an innovative and substantiated perspective on a pivotal phenomenon in today’s international relations. As the forces of attraction in world politics continue to gain in importance it provides a valuable asset for a broad readership.

The Digitalization of Public Diplomacy 
Ilan Manor
Palgrave Macmillan 

This book addresses how digitalization has influenced the institutions practitioners and audiences of diplomacy. Throughout the author argues that terms such as ‘digitalized public diplomacy’ or ‘digital public diplomacy’ are misleading as they suggest that Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) are either digital or non-digital when in fact digitalization should be conceptualized as a long-term process in which the values norms working procedures and goals of public diplomacy are challenged and re-defined. Subsequently through case study examination this book also argues that different MFAs are at different stages of the digitalization process. By adopting the term ‘the digitalization of public diplomacy’ this book will offer a new conceptual framework for investigating the impact of digitalization on the practice of public diplomacy.


Feminist Lenses on Global Affairs

Gender, Sexuality, and Intelligence Studies: The Spy in the Closet
Mary Manjikan
Palgrave Macmillan

This is the first work to engage with intelligence studies through the lens of queer theory. Adding to the literature in critical intelligence studies and critical international relations theory, this work considers the ways in which both the spy, and the activities of espionage can be viewed as queer. Part One argues that the spy plays a role which represents a third path between the hard power of the military and the soft power of diplomacy. Part Two shows how the intelligence community plays a key role in enabling leaders of democracies to conduct covert activities running counter to that mission and ideology, in this way allowing a leader to have two foreign policies—an overt, public policy and a second, closeted, queer foreign policy.

Women as Foreign Policy Leaders: National Security and Gender Politics in Superpower America
Sylvia Bashevkin
Oxford University Press

What is known about women’s participation as decision-makers in international affairs? Is it fair to assume, as many observers do, that female elites will mirror the relatively pacifist preferences of women in the general public as well as the claims of progressive feminist movements? By focusing on women’s presence in senior national security positions in the American political executive, Women as Foreign Policy Leaders offers among the first systematic responses to these questions.

Breaking Protocol: America’s First Female Ambassadors 1933-1964 
Philip Nash
University Press of Kentucky 

"It used to be," soon-to-be secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright said in 1996 "that the only way a woman could truly make her foreign policy views felt was by marrying a diplomat and then pouring tea on an offending ambassador's lap."This world of US diplomacy excluded women for a variety of misguided reasons: they would let their emotions interfere with the task of diplomacy they were not up to the deadly risks that could arise overseas and they would be unable to cultivate the social contacts vital to success in the field. The men of the State Department objected but had to admit women including the first female ambassadors: Ruth Bryan Owen Florence "Daisy" Harriman Perle Mesta Eugenie Anderson Clare Boothe Luce and Frances Willis. These were among the most influential women in US foreign relations in their era.Using newly available archival sources Philip Nash examines the history of the "Big Six" and how they carved out their rightful place in history. After a chapter capturing the male world of American diplomacy in the early twentieth century the book devotes one chapter to each of the female ambassadors and delves into a number of topics including their backgrounds and appointments the issues they faced while on the job how they were received by host countries the complications of protocol and the press coverage they received which was paradoxically favorable yet deeply sexist. In an epilogue that also provides an overview of the role of women in modern US diplomacy Nash reveals how these trailblazers helped pave the way for more gender parity in US foreign relations.

This website uses cookies.