U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Suggested Reading List
Foreign Service Officers must be well-informed and knowledgeable across many
disciplines: current world and national affairs, economics, history, public affairs, and
management, among others. And, since Foreign Service Officers represent the
United States to the world, they must also possess an insightful understanding of
American society and culture. This breadth of knowledge is usually gathered
gradually over time. The best foundation is a solid education and a personal life-habit
of reading, learning, and expanding one's understanding of the world.
Given this breadth, it is difficult to provide a definitive reading list that will prepare a
person for the Foreign Service selection process, and for a Foreign Service career.
Nonetheless, the reading list below illustrates the kinds of books and readings that
can set you in the right direction.
U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, Time, Newsweek.
A major daily newspaper such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times,
Washington Post, Los Angeles Times
Journals such as Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, The New York Review of Books
English Language Usage
Strunk, W., Jr. and White, E.B. The Elements of Style, 4th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon,
1999. ISBN 020530902X
Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers,
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. ISBN 0226104036
United States (culture, foreign policy, history, politics)
Davidson, J.W., et al. Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American
Republic, 5th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2004. ISBN 0072870982
Feagin, J.R. and Feagin, C.B. Racial and Ethnic Relations. 7th ed. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003. ISBN 0130995339
Hirsch E.D, Kett, J.F., and Trefil, J. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. 3rd ed.
Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 2002. ISBN 0618226478
Norton, M.B., et al. A People and a Natio