Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Parting Shots” as Want to Read:
Parting Shots
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Parting Shots

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  109 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Matthew Parris's Parting Shots is a treasure trove of wit, venom and serious analysis. Up till 2006 a British Ambassador leaving his post was encouraged to write what was known as a valedictory despatch, to be circulated to a small number of influential people in government. This was the parting shot, an opportunity to offer a personal and frank view of the host country, t ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 23rd 2010 by Viking (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Parting Shots, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Parting Shots

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 208)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
On this book, I’m totally in agreement with the Financial Times (London, I presume), who intriguingly comment on the back cover “Fascinating, if sometimes uncomfortable reading.”

“Fascinating”; yes, absolutely and utterly. In the course of my reading I discovered so many varied gems and nuggets of interest. “Uncomfortable”, because much of the material within this book was written before the Freedom of Information Act 2000 enabled public requests for disclosure. Many of the Ambassadors, High Comm
Peter Ellwood
Feb 14, 2015 Peter Ellwood rated it liked it

I found myself objecting initially to the superficiality of the approach. It’s true that the first section is headed ‘diplomacy as caricature’; but all the same, the editing smacked a little to me of schoolboys cutting and pasting all the naughty bits out of a book, and then smirking about them behind the bicycle sheds. True, those outgoing ambassadors really did say these dinosaur things: but come on, it was an entire generation ago in most cases, a working lifetime ago. Couldn’t the editors fi
Jan 02, 2011 Lucy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
This was an interesting and entertaining read which took the leaving dispatches of various British diplomatic officials. In essence they are no holds barred thoughts on the customs, practices and people around the globe.

Ranging from post-war to early 90s, the dispatches vary in style, substance and wit considerably; some are clearly written by ageing cantankerous imperialists whilst others are delightfully insightful ditties on life in the diplomatic core.

I thoroughly enjoyed many of the dispatc
Lemon drop
Jan 23, 2012 Lemon drop rated it really liked it
To enjoy this you need some knowledge of politics over the last 40 years, however just to dip into different countries and read the diplomats thoughts is a delight.
Jul 12, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the originally classified final despatches from outgoing British Ambassadors have been made public thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and the hard work of the editors of this book. What we learn from the despatches in this collection, ranging from the 1960s to 2007, is hardly shocking: that British ambassadors were from the most privileged backgrounds imaginable and their attitudes arrogant, sexist, racist, some eccentric, some downright bonkers. As recently as in 2000 an outgoing ...more
Patrick Elsey
Jun 10, 2014 Patrick Elsey rated it really liked it
Interesting if outdated.
May 17, 2013 Edwin rated it liked it
An interesting book, giving the candid views of diplomats on leaving their posts. As such it demonstrates the attitudes of the writers' times, from colonial arrogance to post-imperial angst, and the shifting focus of British foreign policy.

I think more than a few potential readers might be misled by Matthew Paris' reputation and the illustration on the cover - thinking that this will be a collection of comic extracts. It's not, so be aware! It's not heavy reading, but it's far from light!
Um fascinante olhar sobre as várias capitais do mundo, o trabalho dos britânicos por lá, o modo como estes vêem o mundo e como são por ele (e pela pátria) vistos. Obviamente, os telegramas são muito bem escritos e têm ainda humor, e boas observações.
Para rir, para pensar em eventuais semelhanças, na evolução da história e no trabalho. Leitura aconselhada :)
Envoi: E também para pensar na vida, e nos seus luxos e privações.
Ruth Dipple
Sep 08, 2015 Ruth Dipple rated it liked it
Instructive and sometimes amusing. Being a diplomat is clearly not as romantic as it appears to be!
Jan 09, 2015 Faisal rated it really liked it
Insightful and interesting.
David Smith
Fun. Possibly a rare insight into the thoughts of people not accustomed to delivering the truth. One would like to think that this book was edited without the help of a PR firm.
Jun 03, 2013 Kathlyn rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable read - from acerbic and entertaining humour to thought provoking commentary on both world politics and the views of the British government of the time.
Paul Miller
Sep 14, 2013 Paul Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Fascinating and frank insight into Parris and those around him. Particularly liked the stories of his younger days before politics...different times
Jul 27, 2014 Ami rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
Very enjoyable (though better for dipping into than a continuous read). I liked both the funny and the serious aspects.
Not as entertaining as I hoped: Gave up!
Oct 06, 2012 Honor rated it really liked it
very funny in parts!a bit repetitive in others
Kylie added it
Apr 29, 2016
Rodney Ulyate
Rodney Ulyate marked it as to-read
Apr 14, 2016
Diana marked it as to-read
Apr 12, 2016
Pam rated it really liked it
Apr 06, 2016
Hubert Han
Hubert Han rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2016
Justin Clark
Justin Clark rated it it was amazing
Apr 01, 2016
Ryan Pepper
Ryan Pepper marked it as to-read
Mar 19, 2016
Kate marked it as to-read
Mar 04, 2016
Peter Cooke
Peter Cooke marked it as to-read
Mar 01, 2016
J Marsh
J Marsh rated it it was amazing
Mar 01, 2016
Waleed rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2016
Jake Beesley
Jake Beesley rated it really liked it
Apr 18, 2016
Daniellamenezes rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2016
Ingrid Stahl
Ingrid Stahl marked it as to-read
Feb 09, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mulheres de Cinzas
  • By Permission of Heaven
  • A Rainha Ginga. E de como os africanos inventaram o mundo
  • The Adirondacks: A History of America's First Wilderness
  • Eichmann and the Holocaust
  • Captain Scott
  • Lost London: 1870 - 1945
  • Other Paths to Glory
  • Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe
  • The Sledge Patrol: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Victory
  • The Final Curtsey
  • China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World
  • Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park
  • Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever?
  • Landfall
  • The Ascent of Everest
  • The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village
  • My Old Man and the Sea

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Indeed cocktail parties are death as I am sure 99 per cent of DS colleagues would agree. Whoever it was who suggested an international treaty banning National Day receptions should be canonised.” 0 likes
More quotes…