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

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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

In this "wryly perceptive, historically informed" (BookPage) 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.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 01, 2002 – 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.
Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change)
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Etiquette
  • Published: Nov 17, 2003
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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