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Response to Review of On the Fringes of Diplomacy: Influences on British Foreign Policy, 1800-1945

In her review of our book, Dr McCarthy makes some points which relate to the content of the book. She points out, correctly, that its focus is chiefly individuals who strayed into formal diplomacy and contexts which played into British foreign policy. Dr McCarthy suggests that we ought instead to have written a book about cultural diplomacy. As this was never our intention, we are unable to understand why she does so. She further questions the choice of the word ‘fringes’ but her interpretation of this term is narrow. We hoped that it might encapsulate individuals and contexts which abutted with, or ran parallel to, formal diplomatic channels. We also felt that the term was sufficiently flexible that it might incorporate individuals who were part of mainstream diplomacy but whose position, for example, as deputy head of post, rather than ambassador, might have led one to question their importance in specific contexts. Had she paused, momentarily, in her diatribe against international history, Dr McCarthy might also have noted that there were five female contributors to our book.