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Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change)
     

Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change)

by Judith Martin
 

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"Wonderfully wicked....A bracingly sensible guide to living peaceably together."—Francine Prose, Elle

In this "wryly perceptive, historically informed" (BookPage) new book, America's leading expert on civility reminds her Gentle Readers that when the Founding Fathers created a revolution in the name of individual liberty and equality,

Overview

"Wonderfully wicked....A bracingly sensible guide to living peaceably together."—Francine Prose, Elle

In this "wryly perceptive, historically informed" (BookPage) new book, America's leading expert on civility reminds her Gentle Readers that when the Founding Fathers created a revolution in the name of individual liberty and equality, they also took a stand against hierarchical European etiquette in favor of simplicity over ceremony, and personal dignity over obsequiousness to our rulers.

Hailed by George Will as "The National Bureau of Standards," Judith Martin, who has "made etiquette writing an exercise in wit" (Book), recounts here how Americans fashioned this etiquette of egalitarian respect—a fascinating story that spans from the misunderstood origins of our table manners to the much overlooked legacy of African slaves to etiquette.

Editorial Reviews

Over the years, Martin has established herself as an authority on manners and has made etiquette writing an exercise in wit. Miss Manners' latest offering is a treatise on what manners are and how they have developed in the United States. Although the book has Martin's arch tone, elegant phrasing and precise diction, it lacks her usual punch. Committed to characterizing Americans in the most general terms, the author occasionally makes unconvincing points. Luckily for her fans, there are enough of Martin's usual gems scattered throughout the book to make it worthwhile. Author—Stephanie Foote
Stephanie Foote
Over the years, Martin has established herself as an authority on manners and has made etiquette writing an exercise in wit. Miss Manners' latest offering is a treatise on what manners are and how they have developed in the United States. Although the book has Martin's arch tone, elegant phrasing and precise diction, it lacks her usual punch. Committed to characterizing Americans in the most general terms, the author occasionally makes unconvincing points. Luckily for her fans, there are enough of Martin's usual gems scattered throughout the book to make it worthwhile.
Publishers Weekly
Martin, aka bestselling author and columnist Miss Manners, has a vision for Americans as saviors of the civilized world. Her argument is based on two notions: first, that American manners are bad, and second, that because the United States is a nation of immigrants who share "the desire to be treated fairly, the imagination to sketch a new life, and the determination to pursue it," Americans are uniquely positioned to improve their manners and create an etiquette system that could serve as a model for the international community. Martin acknowledges that not all citizens will acquiesce to this new and improved etiquette, but she has a suggestion for how to handle that; we must discourage bullying and bashing through the simple exercise of social disapproval and exclusion. In support of her thesis, Martin provides a history of American manners, from the founding fathers, who first envisioned an "etiquette of equality," through the present day, when "equality" is often misused and greed and selfishness reign. But the original principle of equality stands, says Martin, an astute observer of social customs and manners who cares deeply about the instability of tradition and rituals, a shift in emphasis from the family to the individual and the tendency to value frankness above tact. But she heaps one observation on top of another without ever quite pulling together the pieces, and the details of how this new etiquette is to be developed are painfully glossed over for an issue so central to our national (and international) well-being. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A history of American manners, from the moment we threw off European etiquette and took the straight and simple way. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393342161
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
06/13/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
1 MB

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Meet the Author

Judith Martin, born a perfect lady in an imperfect society, is the author of the “Miss Manners” columns and best-selling books, two novels, and a travel book on Venice. She and her husband live in Washington, DC.

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