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Star-Spangled Manners

In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change)

Judith Martin (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

"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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • November 2003
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32501-0
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

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

“Wryly perceptive [and] historically informed.” — BookPage

“Peerless....analyzes every aspect of American life and the rituals that both define and undermine our culture.” — Booklist

“A well-argued essay that describes a specifically American etiquette.” — Smithsonian

“A fascinating genealogy and spirited defense of our rough-and-ready American manners.” — Boston Globe

“[Martin] has made etiquette writing an exercise in wit.” — Book Magazine

“A quick and entertaining romp through American history and mores. Highly recommended.” — The Daily Observer

“Incisive...Amusing.” — Wall Street Journal

“A well-reasoned and insightful treatise on the American character, and the American character's manners.” — San Diego Union Tribune

“A fascinating account of how we have arrived at the standards of etiquette we follow—or disregard—today. Those who pay attention will be rewarded with keen insights.” — Christian Science Monitor

“Filled with good and fun education. It's a romp with a reasonable justification to why we do what we do.” — Maggie Ramirez, Rainbow Electronic Review

“[Martin] has a keen eye and merry wit.” — Charleston Post and Courier

Also by Judith Martin All

  1. Book CoverMiss Manners Minds Your Business


  2. Book CoverMiss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding


  3. Book CoverMiss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior

    Freshly Updated / Hardcover

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