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A Privileged Life: Celebrating Wasp Style Hardcover – October 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-2759401260 ISBN-10: 275940126X Edition: y First edition

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A Privileged Life: Celebrating Wasp Style + C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon + Slim Aarons: Once Upon A Time
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Assouline Publishing; y First edition edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 275940126X
  • ISBN-13: 978-2759401260
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

To read my blog Open House, view some of my design segments for television or contact me, please visit my website: www.susannasalk.com

Customer Reviews

Liked the other pictures though, not bad.
Sweet Valley High
There's no apparent research on architecture, design, or education although these constitute chapters of the book; nor is there real insight or new point of view.
MRK
Suzanna Salke fails to realize that if she were a WASP she would not have written this book.
White Glove

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 146 people found the following review helpful By M. Jones on November 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book breaks the cardinal rule of WASP style-- discretion! The book is basically all about the author, how very WASPy her upbringing was, and what paragons of style her various family members were. As if being born in a rich New England family was some sort of personal achievement. I agree with another reviewer that it could have been really interesting minus the self-absorption and plus information to make it relevant to readers who aren't personal friends of the author or her family-- some discussion of history, architecture, design and so on. As it is, flipping through for five minutes at the bookstore or library should be plenty to get the full effect, there's no need to buy the book.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Helene Hertzlinger on September 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tons of mistakes litter this pretty little book about the preppy lifestyle. Names are misspelled, captions are incorrect, etc., and for a book without much content to begin with, one would think that the editing and research would have been sharp. It's a shame, as it could have been terrific!
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92 of 103 people found the following review helpful By MRK on June 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Narrative is unoriginal and somewhat sloppy: "My own childhood home was the same one in which my mother grew up in." There's no apparent research on architecture, design, or education although these constitute chapters of the book; nor is there real insight or new point of view. The book has some lovely photos (the cover is the highlight), but I've seen many before and the others - largely of the author's family and friends - were not edited for interest to a non-relative. Everyone has a black & white photo of female relatives wearing white ankle socks, or Aunt Rose & Uncle Mike on a dinghy.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Stevenson on July 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pretty boring, with a lot of pictures of the author's family. The Preppie Handbook did it better and it was funny. At least two editorial glitches: referring to Cleveland Amory as Cleveland Armory and showing a picture of CZ Guest in an evening coat by Mainbocher (first shown in Vogue) and calling it a "housecoat." Not bloody likely.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By OaklandBookworm on September 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I think the editor and the author had one too many G&T's when they thought up the name for this book. It's more of an obituary than celebration. But go ahead and take of a look at it ( borrow unless you want something as embarassing as this on your coffee table); especially since it has the stunning photo of C.Z. Guest, at her prettiest, on the cover. That is really what this book is -- nice photos of (sometimes attractive) waspy-looking people looking like they are having a good time. Admittedly, we all love to look at family and celebrity photos. However, textual content disappoints: it is thin and boils down to the whistfulness/bemoaning of times gone side-by-side with photos(but we all KNOW why there are no images of women in those days gone by at Yale/Harvard/Princeton and no images of people of color except that Ralph Lauren advertisement shot). There are historical/social realities that the author and the book requires us to have amnesia about in order to elevate the lifestyle (and the supposed instrinsic virtures that go along with it) portrayed in this book. This lifestyle, devoid of any consciousness, is depicted as admirable and its merits attributed to the Privileged as defined by the author. It is curious that the author seems to want to claim some Hollywood icons (who couldn't be more remotely a member of her set) as one of her own. But this is her book afterall, and she was able to talk some publisher into producing it. I recommend you buy The Preppy Handbook by Birnbaum, et al. -- a lot more fun and astute, written by real smart kids (at the time) -- they intuited what was on its way "out" would only endure and continue to inspire if everybody thought they could get in.
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71 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Those were the days.... Yes, those were really the days for author Susanna Salk who with A Privileged Life extols the WASP style (sometimes called "preppy") Instead of celebrating it by focusing on wealth or position, Ms. Salk speaks of WASP style as not having anything to do with religion or money but rather as a time she remembers when there was something "profoundly comforting" in the "infinite consistency" of where she grew up. This constant was defined not only by the style of clothing worn but what was done and spoken, where they lived, how they played or entertained, and even what they ate.

Perhaps WASP style is most easily defined in the Foreword penned by Steven Stolman, a self described "nice Jewish boy from West Hartford, Connecticut." He describes it as a sensibility, a conservative ethic, "which was simply the way pretty much everyone dressed and conducted themselves in a traditional New England suburb." As well, I might add in many other suburbs including several in Michigan, Illinois, and other states.

Chapters are devoted to Wasp icons, lifestyle, Ivy League schools, fashion and homes. Each of the 150 beautiful photos (many full-page) is accompanied by a brief explanatory text. Some of these pictures feature Salk's family, others are film stills that exemplify the Wasp style, and many are of those we think of as personifying this style in their lives - Babe Paley, C. Z. Guest, John Cheever, Jackie Kennedy, and many more.

It goes without saying that WASP style has launched many of today's fashion trends (Ralph Lauren, J. Crew) and still bespeaks an elegant, casual way of dressing. More importantly, this affectionately rendered volume reminds us of a kinder, gentler way of life.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
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