In its early years the United States Consular Service was a relatively amateurish organization, often staffed by unsuitable characters whose appointments had been obtained as political favours from victorious presidential candidates—a practice known as the Spoils System. Most personnel changed every four years when new administrations came in. This compared unfavourably with the consular services of the European nations, but gradually by the turn of the twentieth century things had improved considerably—appointment procedures were tightened up, inspections of consuls and how they managed their consulates were introduced, and the separate Consular Service and Diplomatic Service were merged to form the Foreign Service. The first appointments to Britain were made in 1790, with James Maury becoming the first operational consul in the country, at Liverpool. At one point, there was a network of up to ninety US consular offices throughout the UK, stretching from the Orkney Islands to the Channel Islands. Nowadays, there is only the consular section in the embassy and the consulates general in Edinburgh and Belfast.
Beginning with the bold claim, "There can be no culture without the transvestite," Marjorie Garber explores the nature and significance of cross-dressing and of the West's recurring fascination with it. Rich in anecdote and insight, Vested Interests offers a provocative and entertaining view of our ongoing obsession with dressing up--and with the power of clothes.
From the bestselling author of The Ascent of Money and The Square and the Tower "Even those who have read widely in 20th-century history will find fresh, surprising details." —The Boston Globe "A fascinating read, thanks to Ferguson's gifts as a writer of clear, energetic narrative history." —The Washington Post Astonishing in its scope and erudition, this is the magnum opus that Niall Ferguson's numerous acclaimed works have been leading up to. In it, he grapples with perhaps the most challenging questions of modern history: Why was the twentieth century history's bloodiest by far? Why did unprecedented material progress go hand in hand with total war and genocide? His quest for new answers takes him from the walls of Nanjing to the bloody beaches of Normandy, from the economics of ethnic cleansing to the politics of imperial decline and fall. The result, as brilliantly written as it is vital, is a great historian's masterwork.
Casanova, Stendhal, Tolstoy: Adepts in Self-Portraiture, the final volume of Stefan Zweig's masterful Master Builders of the Spirit trilogy, discloses the smaller version of a writer's own ego. Unconscious though it is, no reality is as important to the writer as the reality of their own life. Giacomo Casanova, Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle), and Leo Tolstoy have different approaches to self-portraiture, but Zweig shows that together they symbolize three levels which represent successively ascending gradations of the same creative function. Casanova is depicted as having a primitive gradation; he simply records deeds and happenings, without any attempt to appraise them or to study the deeper working of the self. Stendhal's self-portraiture is depicted as psychological; he observes himself and investigates his own feelings. Tolstoy has the highest level; he describes his own life, records what led him to his own actions, and focuses on self-reflection in a completely unexaggerated manner. At first glance it might seem as if self-portraiture is an artist's easiest task. With no further trouble than a probing of memory and a description of the facts of life, "the truth" is revealed. The history of literature shows that ordinary autobiographers are no more than commonplace witnesses testifying to facts that chance has brought to their knowledge. A practiced artist is needed to discern the innermost happenings of the soul; few who have attempted autobiography have been successful in this difficult task. The present volume expounds the characteristics of these subjectively minded artists, and of autobiography as their typical method of personal expression.