These eclectic memoirs by seventeen former Canadian ambassadors explore the challenges, both novel and routine, confronting diplomats abroad. They eschew the'great moments'in history in favour of real-life problems: designing a new embassy building, furthering aid, trade and immigration, the closing of missions, coping with war in the host country, or dealing alternately with headquarters in Ottawa and mercurial heads of government. Postings range from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indochina, the UN and NATO, the Middle East and Iraq, China and Japan, Africa and the Caribbean, to Western Europe, Hungary and the former USSR. These essays lend credence and force to the view that embassies often need, or choose, to take important initiatives and that instructions from Ottawa are often adapted or reinterpreted to deal with rapidly evolving local situations.'Special Trust and Confidence'will appeal to government officials of every stripe, to students and teachers of international relations, indeed, to any reader of'worldly'bent.