Uniforms - Why We Wear What We Wear
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From Boy Scouts to soldiers, nurses to UPS workers, chefs to nuns, Paul Fussell describes, in sharp and telling anecdotes, the history and meanings of various uniforms. He reveals their secret language and unfolds their cultural significance. Focusing on the American scene, he holds up a mirror to the folks who head off to work each morning in regulated clothing and charts the fault lines of the desire for conformity and individuality. In examining the way uniforms unite and divide us, he ranges over the globe, describing, among other things, the Russian love of shoulder boards, the German obsession with black, and the Italian enthusiasm for feathered military hats. According to Fussell, we are what we wear, and sometimes our get-ups say surprising things.
Uniforms is vintage Fussell — a blend of vinegar and grace, of keen cultural insight and hilarious wit, equal parts spoof and illuminating social analysis.