Kindly Call Me God : The Misadventures of 'Fielding of the FO', Eurocrat Extraordinaire and Vice-Chancellor Semipotentiary

Kindly Call Me God cover

Not Diplomatic memoirs, but a professional autobiography-by-anecdote, Leslie Fieldings' latest book is now available, with a Preface by Lord Hannay of Chiswick.

'Sir Leslie Fielding reminds us that a sense of humour remains as indispensable as ever. If readers of this book come to realise that diplomacy is fun, then he will have done a great service to a profession which is often misunderstood and misrepresented'. Lord Hannay

This engaging and unusual book does not set out to be a work of scholarly analysis in the field of international relations, nor a history of British diplomacy. Instead, the author gives us relaxation in the form of a series of, at times, extremely funny true life anecdotes and adventures.

It is hard to read 'Dracula, Prince of Darkness' or 'The Year of the Cat in Harry Honkers' without a giggle. There is also pure adventure at the diplomatic 'sharp end' ('From Monte with Farsi' or 'Uncle Sam and the Norwegian Mariners'). And the author brings alive some remote and mysterious places ('Ise-Jingu Out of Season' and 'The Crocodile Princess').

Deliciously, Leslie Fielding's stories consistently poke fun at the writer and puncture his occasional (and clearly intentional) pomposities - beginning with his first day at the Foreign Office ('Out of the door and onto the Street in Carlton House Terrace') and continuing through his career ('Alburz Ambush' and 'Pacific Pidgin'). There is warmth and humanity, too. The Vice-Chancellor clearly liked his revolting students ('Welcome, Lord Les') fully as much as the people he worked with and led in Brussels.

In addition to the exotic and absurd, a vein of seriousness runs through the author's reflections on the European Commission; and through his all-too-credible, on the spot accounts of highly charged international negotiations, as the protagonists come up to the wire. In 'Death Squad in Belgrade' and 'Eyeball-to-Eyeball Across the Atlantic', we are reading about life in the front line.

Moving from the anecdotal to the analytical, as befits an academic observer as well as a diplomatic practitioner, the author asks (tongue in cheek?) whether diplomats are immoral, whether they are unnecessary and whether they can be prone to hubris, complacency and misplaced nationalism.

Sir Leslie comes across as an all-rounder, at home in any setting, from embassy to university, from darkest Dartmoor to deepest Cambodian jungle - and apparently in almost any language. But he writes to entertain as well as to inform.

More praise for "Kindly Call Me God"

"As the reader is taken on a fast canter round this distinguished career course, there are many laughs and no yawns... We hear the voice of a serious scholar and public servant and cease to be surprised at his success in the world he so engagingly mocks."
Country Life, July 15, 2009

"Fielding of the FO, Eurocrat Extraordinaire and Vice-Chancellor Semipotentiary writes a great yarn, as indeed he should with a remarkably varied career, a host of experiences, some amusing, some tinged with tragedy, and all recounted with panache. It's hard to know which to single out, since all of his chapters are worth reading, including the longer, more thoughtful pieces. For anyone who has read 'Before the Killing Fields' this is absolutely necessary companion volume. Full marks to the author for the cover, too, it's a clear invitation to address him as a divinity!"
Dr Milton E. Osborne

Showing off a God sense of humour
"After a career spanning almost 40 years and including an appointment to the embassy in Cambodia shortly after it had been sacked by a violent mob, you get the feeling nothing much fazes Sir Leslie Fielding.
Whether it’s being declared the country’s number one twister by the king of Cambodia or spilling tomato juice down his white waistcoat while dressed as Dracula at a party hosted by Winston Churchill’s daughter, he has seen action and come through unscathed..."

Shropshire Star

"Fantastic! Great reading. Hugely entertaining."
Sir Christopher Ondaatje

"A scintillating mixture of fun and high seriousness; and I learned a great deal about the EU!"
Sir Martin Berthoud

"I found this book unusually interesting, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I loved the description of the Persian shepherd-boy, singing devotion to God in the wilderness - and, for a moment, felt that I had been there, hearing it myself!"
Denise, Lady St Oswald

"Very readable and hugely enjoyable. Leslie of the FO has become a 'Cause C??re' "
Hazem Chalabi, Paris

"These anecdotes from diplomatic life are most entertaining, and bring back the atmosphere of the 'old' D.S."
Dame Rosemary Spencer, DCMG

"The brilliantly titled 'KCMG' brings together the wide range of cultures encountered by the author and chronicled with consummate panache. Each chapter is crafted like a classic short story and the prose is bursting with energy and sharp observation."
Professor Howard B. Clarke, Dublin

"Leslie Fielding`s new tome "Kindly call Me God", published by Boermans Books - a collection of his highly enjoyable and beautifully crafted travel tales and reminiscences on his time in the Foreign office - is our unabashed book of the season."
Daren Norris, Editor, The Elizabethan

"I have not been able to put it down; it keeps me awake until the early hours. Thanks to the author, for the courage to write the undiplomatic bits."
A.Aveyard, Scarborough.

"A splendid read."
Richard Mercer, Shropshire.

"I read it with great enjoyment and much admire the wry, irreverent tone."
Tony Howard.

"I enjoyed the range - in colour, common sense, reverence and irreverence. Not just a treasury, but a feast."
Ronald Higgins.

"I very much enjoyed this irreverent description of diplomatic life."
Dr. Ian Glover, FSA.

"I thoroughly enjoyed KCMG - a very good read"
Sir Michael Franklin.