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The Butler's Guide to Running the Home and Other Graces
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2012
This book, half upstairs-downstairs memoir and half how-to manual for maintaining a household (including the small individual establishment) had gone out of print and was fetching very high prices on the used market. Thanks to the enormous popularity of 'Downton Abbey,' Clarkson Potter has reissued it with a new foreword by the historical advisor to that series. I had often consulted the book in the '80s from my university library, and in my current city have been frustrated not to find it, so I'm very glad to have the new edition. Most of the cleaning and preservation tips, while traditional, would pass muster with modern conservation authorities (something not true of many "household tips" cleaning and polishing methods) and Ager's thoughts on clothes maintenance, table setting and service, and packing clothes for travel are worth the price of admission. The fact that his coauthor was the daughter of the house in which he served for nearly thirty years is a testament to his knowledge and to the esteem in which he was held by the family.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 19, 2012
This is a book that will guide you in how to take care of a household - as Stanley Ager did. He was in service for almost 3 decades and was the butler at St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, England. He lived at this fascinating location, surrounded by water at high tide from 1945 to 1975.

The best and most interesting part of the book is the beginning where, in a foreword we are given information about Stanley Ager, an author's note by Fiona St. Aubyn who lived at the Mount and about 14 pages where Ager tells his story.

The rest of the book consists of how to run the home, clothing care and packing, managing the table and some stories on royalty visiting, being a guest, dealing with servants, tips on courtesy - helping someone on with their coat, to push in a chair correctly and his advice for a picnic. There is also an index. Illustrations are in black and white.

If you would like a butler's hints on how to run a house, taking care of the silver, etc. This book would be exactly what you are looking for. You could also learn something of what servants had to do to keep up the large stately homes; however there are no real general descriptions of life as a servant or of those who they served.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, this book is for you! It's a well written and detailed tome on what it takes to keep one of the big British houses going, with lots of tips for today's houses as well. There's even a little blurb on what to look for in a dry cleaner. Highly recommend!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
This kindle edition seems to be formatted well enough but the illustrations are too small to see (guess I'll have to get an 8.9" kindle fire some day) so I'll use the PC kindle reading software to see it on a larger screen.

There is some good information for anyone to use. I work at a church as a jack of all trades and many times I have to set up a table for a small lunch of six to ten people and the information here will help me to make it look better than just something slapped together.

I also have to clean the pastors coat from time to time and the tip of using a soft haired brush to clean a coat has come in handy. They don't seem to make brushes just for that use anymore so instead I have used a horse hair shoe polish brush instead and it is working fine when used as he shows. Just remember to write on it what it's being used for so no one uses it for shoes. I would not want to see old shoe polish brushed on a white coat!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2014
My husband requested this for Christmas. So I obliged. Now he does the ironing, vacuuming, dishes, sets the table and brings me coffee in bed on a silver tray and calls me the lady of the house. BEST purchase ever!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
We love this book. It is a great window into a way of life that we in the U.S. never (or hardly ever) experience. Our family found it fascinating, plus it contains numerous hints that we can use nowadays, such as cleaning methods and materials, plus ways of preserving valuable heirlooms, antiques, etc., and much more. The subtitle tells everything about what the book is about, so no one should be surprised that it is not a mystery or who-done-it, for instance! Would recommend this book to anyone with a special interest in the subject.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2014
If your Downton Abbey is getting flabby, if at the remains of the day, you have nothing to show for your pains of the day, if you are downstairs with too many cares, then get this book and be enlightened. A classic on how to be a classic servant to the rich, if that is your thing. Even if you are not enslaved to the one percent, this book will make a better housekeeper out of you, and who among us does not count that as a consummation devoutly to be wished?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2013
This was a gift for my sister who's a Gosford Park freak. She said a was fun little voyeuristic trip into the world of downstairs/upstairs breeding. A way over the top trip! Those days of "butler-ing" seem to be waning, but one can dream!
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on March 3, 2014
I found this book hard to put down. You get a private peak behind the curtains to see how pampered the British aristocracy was earlier in the 20th century. Plus, you pick up invaluable tips for the care of all kinds of personal property. Etiquette lessons are also included! The selflessness of a great butler is touching, to say the least, and the first person narrative conveys this perfectly.
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on June 23, 2015
This was a gift for my husband who is fascinated with Butler's and mansions, etc. He has been reading the book little by little and gets pulled in each time he opens it. He thought this a great Father's Day gift. He now is looking forward to planning a visit to working mansions in the US.
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