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Class: A Guide through the American Status System

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2010

    The humorous bible of social class

    There is even a sort of aristocracy amongst the working class people whom Fussell generally refers to as proles. Fussell's sharp eye has found and catalogued an amazing array of signs that indicate class in America. Try to spot these signs at your next social gathering, or even subject your own living room to the survey at the end of the book (frighteningly accurate way to determine one's class)!
    This is a book based on pigeon-holing people, and that is probably what most annoyed readers can't stand about Fussell. But class distinctions do exist, like 'em or not. The middle class hope to rise in class by sending their kids to Harvard or Yale, the Proles hope to do the same by getting more money. Lucky "X Class" people don't give a hoot about such climbing, and fortunately more of us are just veering sideways into that final category which Fussell charts as a kind of class alternative.
    Actually, the book could also be a helpful guide to those with a need to temporarily masquerade as a member of a given class... Unfortunate but true that you will get better service at a jeweler's or other tony shop if you dress not so much "up" but into the highest class you can accurately manage. And if you want to blend in at the truck stop, there are plenty of hot tips to be gleaned from this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2004

    Incisive

    The best overview of the class system in the US that I've seen. He sees all the complexities...that class is about more than money, or one's job (or lack thereof), etc. He sees the class implications in everything from the sort of house we live in (not so much what it costs but what style we choose), the clothes we wear (no, more expensive isn't automatically higher class), how we speak (no, florid language isn't aristocratic), etc. Also hilariously funny. I read it in one day and couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2003

    A bit dated, but right on point

    Being an immigrant, Class provided an insightful view of American class system. The book is both amusing and intruiging. I was unable to put it down. I even got my mother, who is not an avid reader, to read the book. We both still refer to it in a jocular way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2002

    Funny

    Quite funny and often true. Very enjoyable to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2002

    an american class system?

    Though a bit dated, this is a wonderful book (i have the 1989 paperback edition, so i don't know if he has updated the book). I love the tongue-in-cheek humor that Fussell uses throughout the book. Especially dealing with the middle class. You'll find yourself laughing out loud. And the book is surprisingly relevant. You'd think that a 20 year old book about class in America wouldn't be relevant, but there is a lot to be taken from this book. Like I said, it is a bit dated, but any intelligent person (which most of you reading this book are) can make the changes. And after reading most of the book, and you can't seem to figure out which class you belong to, Fussell introduces, in the final chapter, the 'X' people. Those that don't belong to any class, or create a category of their own. Yeah, not all 'X' people fit all the criteria of Fussell's, but then part of being an 'X' person is that individuality, and not necessarily filling every 'criteria.' This is a great book, if not for Fussell's social statement on America, at least for the humor he uses.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2001

    Hiss!

    Oh, my, this is an insidious little book. Fussell pulls America's caste system apart like a loaf of twisty bread; he doesn't suffer fools nor brook any nonsense. I thought of Evanston, Illinois' imminent decay when it lost the last grocery store that delivers (Fussell is a careful observer of such conveniences). I think of the insane job-title inflation that turns a sales rep into a regional rep or even an 'acccount executive' (like s/he has that kind of power!). Fussell goes so far as to say that there aren't any more American universities than there were before World War II. The new ones just call themselves that; they are 'universities' (so their graduates can get a job as 'account execs,' I guess). For Fussell there is no lower-middle class, there are 'proles.' My reading group read this book for a lark but--I warn you--at some point this book will draw blood when it hits YOUR case, so beware! Funny as all get-out and beautifully written (Fussell is an English professor), 'Class' came out in the mid-eighties but still remains--and deserves--popularity today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2001

    Class

    I originally began to read this book for my english class, but i found it so good that pretty soon i was zooming ahead of the assigned reading and i eventually finished the book in a week. It gives a detailed satirical description and overview of the class systems and criteria in america in such a way that a normally uncomfortable topic is made hilarious.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2000

    A Must Have for Upper Class Wanna Bee's

    This book excellantly deciphers the class or 'caste' system in America that seperates the best from common society. It gives you guidelines for climbing the ladder as well as descending it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2000

    Uncannily Accurate and Detailed, a 'must read'

    It forces you to perform a self examination, to dot your I's and cross your T's. Most people are afraid to acknowledge that classism is extremely prevalent in the U.S. The upper classes because they don't want anything to change, the insecure middle class because they are afraid of slipping a notch and are envious of the uppers, and lower classes (proles) because they have accepted their fate and are envious of the middle class. Since only 4% of Americans read more than 1 book a year (they're too busy watching TV), and far fewer than 1% will read this book, you can use the information in this book to move yourself up a notch and no one will notice. It will be your own little secret.....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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