A Diplomat in an Age of Nationalism and War
McGill-Queens University Press 2014
New Books in BiographyNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network February 8, 2018 Mark Klobas
Described upon his death in 1887 as the ideal diplomatist, Richard Lyons served Great Britain in a variety of roles over the course of a long and distinguished career. In Lord Lyons: A Diplomat in an Age of Nationalism and War (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014), Brian Jenkins describes Lyons’s eventful life and the often subtle impact he made in international relations. The son of an officer in the Royal Navy, Lyons was long drawn to diplomatic service. Sent to Greece as an aide soon after finishing his education, he rose steadily through the ranks over the course of a series of postings in Europe. Named minister to the United States in 1858, Lyons arrived to witness the emergence of secession, and he spent much of his tenure in America grappling with the challenges posed by the war that resulted. His success in such extraordinary circumstances cemented his reputation and led to his appointment as ambassador, first to the Ottoman Empire, then to France, where he served during the fall of Napoleon III’s Second Empire and the establishment of the Third Republic. Throughout it all, as Jenkins shows, Lyons set a standard of conduct as a hard-working nonpartisan defender of Britain’s interests that his successors strove to emulate.