Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn't open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To download from the iTunes Store, get iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

The Refinement of America

Persons, Houses, Cities

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


This lively and authoritative volume makes clear that the quest for taste and manners in America has been essential to the serious pursuit of a democratic culture. Spanning the material world from mansions and silverware to etiquette books, city planning, and sentimental novels, Richard L. Bushman shows how a set of values originating in aristocratic court culture gradually permeated almost every stratum of American society and served to prevent the hardening of class consciousness. A work of immense and richly nuanced learning, The Refinement of America newly illuminates every facet of both our artifacts and our values.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 31, 1992 – If Bushman is correct, it was not until the mid-19th century that a majority of middle-class Americans displayed a concern for taste and beauty in their dress, comportment, manners and houses. From colonial times to the Revolution, he writes, gentility was the exclusive province of the gentry--wealthy merchants, planters, clergymen and professionals who copied a Renaissance-inspired ideal imitated by Europe's aristocracy. This intriguing social history shows how a diluted version of gentility became an underpinning of middle-class self-respect as millions of Americans moved into houses with book-lined parlors, consulted etiquette manuals and cultivated gardens. Bushman, a Columbia history professor, argues that the worldly, leisure-oriented genteel code clashed with egalitarian and religious values yet fueled the ethos of consumption that helped capitalism thrive. Photos. BOMC and History Book Club alternates.
The Refinement of America
View in iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: Sep 08, 1992
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 528 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.

Customer Ratings

We have not received enough ratings to display an average for this book.