Diplomats usually report from their host countries on political and economic topics. Their reports form the basis for the foreign policy drafted in the Foreign Office. Traditional historiography often makes use of this “diplomatic mail”. In contrast, travel reports are seldom used as sources. However, such reports provide fascinating accounts of how people experienced a country and its people, the climate, geography, art, history, meetings with real or purported local VIPs, talks, rumours, and the networks established between diplomats, their colleagues and compatriots. Thanks to the privileged position they enjoyed as a result of their profession and social status, diplomats mainly travelled in comfort. However, this was not always the case. Their status sometimes opened doors that remained closed to other people. As a result, the travel reports provide both accounts of the living conditions in the places where the diplomats travelled, as well as of their world view beyond the grand political stage. The reader thus encounters views of the familiar rather than of the unfamiliar at every turn. Unlike the usual diplomatic correspondence, these texts thus tend to be unconventional. This is also the case when the true background and the accuracy of some information can no longer be ascertained.
Short introductory texts have been provided for each of the travel reports in order to place them in a historical or biographical context.
191 pages with 29 illustrations, hard cover