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The Official Preppy Handbook Hardcover – August 31, 1983


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing (August 31, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517420511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517420515
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,986,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 117 customer reviews
Love my Preppy Handbook, had one back in the 80's.
Edna Stewart
You learn about their cars, colleges, clothes, food, jobs, music, pets, what they read and how they decorate their houses.
sherri j. thorne
The book is a wonderful piece of cultural anthropology.
Herblady22

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on August 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was a spot-on parody when it came out in 1980, but also a quite accurate and even useful "field guide" to the North American prepster. Almost 25 years later, it still holds up as humor, and also as a great guide to the prep look and lifestyle. And best of all, it may even be timely once again: An article in the New York Times a few days ago suggested that teen fashion trends are turning away from overexposure and punk and back toward plaid, chinos, polo shirts (with turned up collars, natch), even repp ties! Everything comes around a second time, so Lisa Birnbach call your office. It may be time for an updated edition for today's rising BMOCs.

All I know is that my copy is well-thumbed from two-plus decades of hard work, and it's showing no signs of irrelevance yet!
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Herblady22 VINE VOICE on June 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first moved to new York City to work in the corporate world I came across Lisa Birnbach's Preppy Handbook. Suddenly everything made sense. I could understand why the blonde vice president in the elevator had the "executive look" and I didn't. I understood the vague references. Coming from somewhere where no one ever had tailgates, much less parties on them, it introduced me to a whole other way of life. I needed to understand preppies if I were to achieve success in the East and Lisa let me know the code. The book is a wonderful piece of cultural anthropology.
I routinely recommend this book to talented kids from other classes and other places who are trying to make it in the Northeast. Along with John Molloy's Dress for Success, this book made it possible for me to adapt to corporate life.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful By sherri j. thorne on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am hard pressed to recall a humor book that was so very well done, that academics routinely cite examples from its pages. The Official Preppy Handbook has achieved that.
Lisa Birnbach and company, successfully documented the lives of the Prep School set, from youth to retirement. Along the way they explore in a brilliant and witty way, the mindset and lifestyle of this group. You learn immediately that being a Preppy is well beyond going to a private school. Preps exude Noblesse Oblige, while wearing Lacoste polos and drinking Bloody Mary's. You learn about their cars, colleges, clothes, food, jobs, music, pets, what they read and how they decorate their houses. You learn what "To Summer," REALLY means. You even learn their speech patterns, and prep vocabulary. Along the way you have a lot of laughs, while getting an education about what makes these people tick. Years later, I still pull out my pristine copy not only for laughs, but for reference as well. In recent years others have tried to follow this groundbreaking formula only to have missed the mark. You will find many books with: "In the traditon of The Preppy Handbook" in their titles. They do not even come close.
Sadly, this artifact is out of print. Perhaps someone will start a letter writing campaign to Workman Publishers, begging them to reprint it. It is REALLY that good!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cardigans carelessly draped over shoulders, Pappagalo, little children who wear no jewelry, not even watches, because "Nanny knows what time it is." A wonderful tribute to the days when Abercrombie & Fitch was not the classless chainstore it is today. The clothing section alone is a primer in timeless quality. And it's always fun to practice Locust Valley lockjaw with friends.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mummy, Daddy, Trip and Buffy eat your hearts out! This is the funniest book I've ever read, and I have to admit I've gleaned more than a couple of fashion hints from its sacred pages. While it is primarily a tongue-in-cheek spoof on old-line preppies, it is also a definitive, flawless, and well-written authority on The Tradition. Owning the out-of-print book is a coveted honor. And know to refer to it by its abbrevaition: The OPH. Find it in paperback, discuss it only with your preppiest friends, and tuck it away in a descreet bedroom drawer. And it is important to keep the rare item safe for passing it on to the future generations, as preppy style never ages.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Extemely accurate description is now a sort of litmus test for the modern preppy: if you think that boat shoes, polo shirts with upturned collars, and cuffed khakis are "dated"... then you are not a preppy! That is the whole point. True, MOST people do not dress like this. But MOST people are not described by this book.
This book describes a much more rarified segment of society than some people think the word "preppy" implies, and I sense this confusion in some of the negative reviews. These days, anyone who is white and does not dress like Marilyn Manson is called "preppy." But this broad swath of the populace is NOT who Birnbach is referring to in this book. She's talking about a really rather elite group of people and their somewhat odd and peculiar mores. These are not kids who are preppy in that they hang out at the mall rather than on some streetcorner. She is talking about people who in actuality probably hang out places most people have never heard of, live in houses you cannot see, and go to schools that are so prestigious that you probably don't even know exist. I'm not making a value judgement, I am just trying to clarify. If you don't like it, too bad; Birnbach is the messenger, not the problem.
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