John Julius Norwich's parents were Duff and Diana Cooper: the former a cabinet minister, his mother a famous beauty. In 1940 the 11-year-old John Julius was evacuated to Canada, returning 2 years later across an Atlantic full of U-boats. Wartime Eton followed. Then came the British Embassy in Paris, where his father was Britain's post-war ambassador. With his mother John Julius watched French troops cross the Rhine under enemy fire and witnessed the Nuremberg Trials. National Service in the navy was followed by Oxford. In 1952 John Julius married and joined the Foreign Office, serving first in Belgrade and then in Beirut - inspired postings that sowed the seeds of his delight in the Byzantine and Ottoman worlds. Happily, Trying to Please is no mere list of achievements, but an engaging and often amusing account of its author's past that breathes fresh life into the worlds he describes.