With rich anecdotal detail and enjoyable witty style, this is an autobiography of a distinguished diplomat that provides new insights into the background of Middle Eastern diplomacy in the twentieth century. "Saddam seized me by the shoulders and marched me by his side in a sort of embrace, saying, 'Can't you British understand that there is nothing in the world I detest more than a Russian Communist - except an Iraqi one? Get that through to your stupid Government.'" That was late 1969 as Iraq was tilting towards Moscow during the Cold War. The occasion was the author's first audience with Saddam. In his long and distinguished career in the Arab world, Glencairn Balfour Paul witnessed momentous changes in the region. "Bagpipes in Babylon" describes the colourful experiences of his working life including his acquaintance with Wilfred Thesiger, his friendship in Beirut with Kim Philby, and his close relations with King Hussein of Jordan. Following retirement, he embarked on a second career in academia and his travels continued. "Bagpipes in Babylon' is a rich and entertaining account of a lifetime in the Arab world, and beyond.
Glencairn Balfour Paul was District Commissioner in the Sudan and Ambassador in Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia. On retirement, he became a Research Fellow at Exeter University and is author of The End of Empire in the Middle East, the Middle East section of the Oxford History of the British Empire, and a collection of his poetry, A Kind of Kindness.