Star-Spangled Manners

In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (for Change)

By Judith Martin
(W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393048612, 224pp.)

Publication Date: November 2002

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Driven by our dreams of equality for all and stardom for each, we Americans have always been eager to test the standards of social behavior and create our own rules for interaction. In this wryly perceptive, historically informed 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 recounts here with characteristic wit how Americans fashioned this etiquette of egalitarian respect -- a fascinating story that spans the misunderstood origins of our table manners to the much-overlooked legacy of African slaves to etiquette. Ultimately, Star-Spangled Manners pays playful homage to the American character, the revolutionary roots and creative independence of our newly minted manners.

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