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Charles Ritchie's first volume of diaries, The Siren Years, created a sensation when it was published in 1974. Besides winning the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction, it was hailed by reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic. An Appetite for Life, his second volume, first published in 1977, deals with his youth in Halifax and his career at Oxford - the years when Charles Ritchie turned from a callow, blundering youth into a callow, blundering young man.As these diaries show, Charles Ritchie had a sharp eye, a keen ear, a highly developed sense of the absurd, and - despite his unhappy knack of landing ?at on his face - a thorough "appetite for life." This is not only a hilariously funny book, but it presents a vivid picture of two worlds - Halifax and Oxford in the mid-twenties - that are now long gone. It also introduces us to an astonishing range of characters, but the most astonishing of all is the young Charles Ritchie himself.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In his first book, The Siren Years, the public was introduced to Charles Ritchie as a young diplomat serving with the Canadian Embassy in wartime London. In Diplomatic Passport, we follow his career as he climbs the rungs of the diplomatic-service ladder - as an advisor to the Canadian Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1946; as a Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Paris, where his friends celebrate Ritchie Week - to the city's surprise; as Assistant, Deputy, and Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs in Ottawa; as Canadian Ambassador to Bonn, where he finds himself reciting Little Red Riding Hood in German at a state dinner; and as Permanent Ambassador of Canada to the United Nations.
In this book, Charles Ritchie looks back at some of the characters that peopled his childhood and youth, in the years before his brilliant career in Canada's diplomatic corps began. In these essays we are introduced to his uncles, Harry "Bimbash" Stewart and the dashing, doomed Charlie Stewart; to his indomitable mother; to his mad cousin Gerald; to the newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook; to his college friend Billy Coster, who threw away wealth and a secure future; and to a host of others. With his usual unerring eye and elegant prose, Charles Ritchie brings them all to life again, with affection and wit.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Charles Ritchie, one of Canada's most distinguished diplomats, was a born diarist, a man whose daily record of his life is so well written that it leaps from the page. In wartime England, Ritchie, as Second Secretary at the Canadian High Commission, served as private secretary to Vincent Massey, whose second-in-command was Lester B. Pearson, future prime minister of Canada. In a perfect position to observe both statecraft and the London social whirl that continued even during the war, Ritchie provides a fascinating, perceptive, and (surprisingly) humorous picture of the London Blitz - the people in the parks, the shabby streets, the heightened love affairs - and the vagaries of the British at war. There are also glimpses of the great, and portraits of noted artists and writers that he knew well.A vivid document of a period and a wonderful piece of writing, The Siren Years has become a classic.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the fourth volume of selections from his delightfully wise and witty diaries, we see Charles Ritchie, the seasoned (but never stuffy) diplomat, in his last two major postings - as Canadian Ambassador to Washington and as Canadian High Commissioner to London. Full of anecdotes rather than briefing papers (was JFK really "shooing" the new Canadian ambassador out of his office?), Ritchie's diaries are at their amusing best.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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