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Rudeness and Civility: Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  68 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
With keen insight and subtle humor, John F. Kasson explores the history and politics of etiquette from America's colonial times through the nineteenth century. He describes the transformation of our notion of "gentility," once considered a birthright to some, and the development of etiquette as a middle-class response to the new urban and industrial economy and to the exce ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Hill and Wang (first published 1990)
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Sara
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, I'm FINALLY done with this book. It was long, the print was tiny, and the sentences were such that any miniscule distraction meant you had to start the paragraph over again. Sometimes I spent my whole lunch break on two pages.
For these reasons, the book was equal parts fascinating and frustrating. I'm all for interesting nonfiction, but isn't there some line to walk on the entertaining side of scholarly? Here's a typical sentence: "The economic and social interests of many figures lay precis
...more
David
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating exploration of how Americans adapted to urban life in the 19th century - in order to live closely together in this strange new environment people had to develop an entire set of behaviors that would allow them to interact with one another while at the same time maintaining some sense of control over who they were perceived to be by the public and the influence the public would have over an individual's identity. The elaborate framework of good manners and proper behavior that became ...more
Janice
Dec 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a class in college but was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Full of fun stories about the development of manners in the US. It wasn't that long ago that it was totally acceptable to eat w/your hands!
Holly George
manners have improved
Foster Rakestraw
i love this book!
Maria
Sep 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned about the history of politics of etiquette from America's colonial times through the nineteenth century.
Danielle
An interesting look into manners in 19th century America and it's evolution from British norms.
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John F. Kasson is a professor of history and American studies at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and the author of Amusing the Million, among many other seminal works of cultural history. He lives in Chapel Hill.
More about John F. Kasson...

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