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Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 14, 2008


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1ST edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375509216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375509216
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Despite her limited access to Emily Post's personal papers, Laura Claridge does her best to bring Post to life against the ever-changing cultural landscape of the early 20th century. While the New York Times praised Claridge as an "exhaustive researcher," other critics complained of the author's frequent digressions and the glut of useless information: "Do we need the curtain time of the production in which Emily had a bit part at age 6?" bemoans the New York Times Book Review. Some critics also questioned Claridge's interpretation of facts and her unfamiliarity with matters of etiquette. However, Claridge does succeed in unveiling the fun-loving, banjo-playing workaholic behind the myth—and forever demolishes the image of the fussy prude obsessing over fork usage.
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Given the ubiquitousness of her repeatedly revised magnum opus, Etiquette, first published in 1922, we think of Emily Post as an institution rather than a human being. But she was a woman of substance and sensitivity. The first to fully portray this pioneer, Claridge is becoming the sort of biographer readers will follow anywhere, and one hopes she’ll continue in the vein that yielded Norman Rockwell (2001) and now this absorbing study of a keenly perceptive ethicist second only to Eleanor Roosevelt in the immensity of her influence. A child of privilege born in the wake of the Civil War, smart and beautiful Emily Price married a rascal. The pain and humiliation of her divorce from Edwin Post fostered her devotion to writing (she was a successful novelist) and seeded the compassion and advocacy for women that shaped her highly moral approach to etiquette. Claridge chronicles Post’s remarkable ability to discern the needs of a burgeoning American public transformed by immigration, industrialization, war, and women’s and civil rights, and hungry for guidance in social and familial situations. A best-selling writer and hugely popular radio personality, Post equated etiquette with character and ensured a “democratization of manners.” Claridge greatly deepens our appreciation for Post’s achievements and brings forward the impressive woman behind the do’s and don’ts. --Donna Seaman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine J. Miller on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Emily Post is written with thorough attention to detail, skillfully intertwining the private, public, and mythical icon into a very real person. Ms. Claridge intersperses this biography on with so many entertaining anecdotes that despite being a lengthy biography, it has a light touch. Ms. Claridge's writing has the wonderful combination of being both intellectually satisfying and very readable at the end of a long day.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By C. Hutton on October 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Laura Claridge has written the definitive biography of Emily Post. A long account at nearly 550 pages, the author has included every piece of information about her family of origin, her childhood, disasterous marriage and arbitrator of American manners. Fortunately, her chatty conversational style of writing saves the reader when one reads information that has little to do with the story. Ms. Post had an interesting life that became immortal when she decided to write a book about proper behavior in 1922. Being the first to do so made her famous and alone in her field for three decades. The author includes the cultural surroundings of her life to make this a book for the reader to go back in time. Her life stretched from the post Civil War era to the post World War II era until her death at the age of 88.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Pierce on August 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit. I had a really hard time getting through this book. It took me 6 or 8 weeks to finish it. (I read Kushiel's Scion (Kushiel's Legacy) which has 200 more pages in 3 weeks, so it was more the lack of interest in the material's presentation than the length of the book.) When Shana asked for some one to take over the responsibility of this book I thought, "How interesting. She must have lead an exciting life." Well, she did lead a fairly exciting life, but the presentation was so dry.

Emily Post was related to the Roosevelt's (she thought Eleanor was too involved in politics and causes), she wrote more than Etiquette and played in the concrete base of the Statue of Liberty! I know I would have enjoyed Emily Post much more if I could have taken my time and read it in pieces over a few months rather than with a deadline. If you have more than a passing interest in Emily Post herself or in the periods that this book covers (1920's to 1950's) I'd recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Moshe Bloxenheim on January 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ms. Claridge's book provides a fascinating of an amazing person that goes against all assumptions one might make about a legendary arbiter of social behavior. Unfortunately in the biographer's eagerness to include events and people to historically place Ms. Post, she makes mistakes on basic information that even a Wikipedia search would supply with more accuracy. One example, concerning the psychologist and industrial engineer Lillian Gilbreth: "Lillian's marriage and children had been immortalized by the bestselling book 'Cheaper by the Dozen' written by her now deceased husband Frank..." A simple check would have shown Ms. Claridge that the book was written by two of Lillian and Frank's children Ernestine Carey and Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. This is just one of a few basic errors that are to be found and which could have been easily avoided. Such sloppiness could make the reader wonder about the veracity of the facts regarding Emily Post herself and, to me, ruins an otherwise entertaining and readable biography.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barbara And Byron Skinner on December 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good but long read...the first half of the book deals with Mrs. Post before her divorce ... the second half is after her divorce for Edwin Post and her writing and Interior Design careers...in the first half the reader is not to sure that the writer has her subject in very high esteem, the second the author becomes more sympathetic to her subject. This may be due to the authors illness and the when she wrote each part.

This is a detailed biography not only about Emily Post but American culture from post Civil War to the 1960's. Tracing this evolution through the work of Emily is not a unique idea but Ms. Claridge does a good job of blending the transitions through the writing of the ten editions of Ms. Post main body of work on American manners.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Davis on August 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in the Gilded Age - you will love this book! It started out a tedious read, very confusing at times, as the author tried to set up Emily's heritage. After the first few chapters, the story takes off, delving in to the world of the Social Register & their member's privileged lives. Emily Post led a most interesting & full life, an astute business woman ahead of her time. But she also had her share of tragedies, disappointments & loneliness. Laura Claridge captures the essence of Emily and pays tribute to this remarkable woman and her everlasting legacy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Builderlady on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is totally soporific. It reads like a college
text. It was a total waste of money and time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BookManBookWoman TV REVIEWS on December 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Everything you ever wanted to know about society and etiquette. The perfect book for the person who is impossible to buy for. The compelling and remarkable story of a woman who overcame life's hurdles with style and grace to become the queen of what to and not to do."
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