Well-written and lively, offering an engaging way to learn about the sometimes-perplexing world of foreign consulates.

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The Foreign Consuls Among Us

LOCAL BRIDGES TO GLOBALISM

This expanded second edition adds a global perspective to a surprisingly readable explanation of foreign consuls.

Arguably, Americans are generally less worldly in foreign affairs, in part because of the country’s physical isolation from much of the rest of the world. American citizens are also likely to be ignorant of foreign consuls, even though consuls may be located in their very communities. Yet as Hofstadter, a Finnish-born transplant to America who spent time as a consul, explains, these officials help “in the development of commercial, economic, cultural and scientific relations between their countries and the U.S. locales where they are posted.” The author handily explains what consuls are and their primary functions, as well as proper etiquette when it comes to dealing with them. While the book is most relevant for American government officials, academics, or businesspeople who might have interactions with foreign dignitaries, it could be of interest to a broader audience because it is so enjoyable to read. Hofstadter writes with a great deal of polish and good humor in a style that is informal yet authoritative. She is particularly adept at creating engaging chapter openings through her use of anecdotes that often demonstrate various blunders caused largely by people who haven’t a clue how to interact with consuls or how to make the best use of their services. The author discusses some of the key areas in which consuls have an impact, including facilitating travel as well as cross-border educational exchanges. Particularly interesting are explanations of the distinction between “career” and “honorary” consuls and the differences between consular and diplomatic personnel. Also useful (and somewhat dizzying) are the variety of definitions: “consul general,” “consul,” “vice consul,” “consulate,” “consular corps,” and “diplomat.” The details about how to address consuls (both in person and in written form) and seat them at events are admittedly mundane, but they will certainly help avoid embarrassment for individuals responsible for such things.

Well-written and lively, offering an engaging way to learn about the sometimes-perplexing world of foreign consulates.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9882169-1-4

Page Count: 262

Publisher: Seagreen Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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