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Let's Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition: A Collection of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful Words, Phrases, Praises, Insults, Idioms, and Literary Flourishes from Eras Past Hardcover – March 12, 2013
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In waiting for this book. i went to the authors website to discover that this is going to be a series of single subject books, I hope the first one is on travel. All forms of travel have become so common that noone realizes how great it could be. Air, Train, and Sea travel use to be the hight of elegance. Now its a matter of stuffing as many people into a tin can as possible and as for Cruises, the Disney/Carnival expecience is not the real thing. To sail transatlantic on a Cunard ship is my dream trip.
Some things would be hard to bring back without returning to the bad old days especially for people of color.
There are some things missing. While maidservent is included, valet isn't (most men could use somone to arrange their everyday lives) And while Osar Wilde is mentioned often, he doesn't have his own entry.
This is a perfect summertime lounging book full of champagne towers and bonbons.
Some I was around for and some I was not but wished I had been.
I had such fun reading, remembering and finding out new things.
I literally had to put the book down several times in order to slow down and draw out the enjoyment.
I can hardly wait for the next Lets Bring Back book.
In addition read her other books as they are also very enjoyable.
Again.. Get this book and enjoy remembering or learning about wonderful things, people and times. Then.. Bring something back !!
As a read, it is frankly pretty thin. The text is merely an alphabetical list of things the author thinks we should bring back: the word "acquaintance" [it's gone?]; Aesop's Fables [still in print, and the associated morals she quotes all still in use]; aesthetes [isn't that pretty much a job description today?]; affectations; aging naturally; all-white rooms . . . . Each is described in just a few sentences, pitched to express the author's longing for these supposed lost gems. Most will be familiar to a reasonably erudite reader, and many were never lost. Many entries are for things that are simply out of fashion (jodhpurs, spats, top hats) or technologically obsolete (rotary phones, leather flying helmets, daguerrotypes), which seems like a harmless fancy, though the author gives no sign of understanding why we no longer have these. Many are remembrances of notable cultural figures from previous generations, and it's often fun to be reminded of why they were famous. Occasionally she is nostalgic for things that never actually existed: the Glass family from J.D. Salinger's short stories (fictional); fly-in movie theaters (notional). Sometimes her demands to "bring back" certain things are strangely oblivious: "Ms." magazine (continuously in print for 42 years, in different publishing schedules); red lipstick (?); beards (!?).
The book does not include much in the way of commentary, other than these brief off-handed observations, and neither expresses a cultural point of view nor really elucidates what it is the author is searching for, other than this seemingly random list of anachronistic touchstones.
At that, the book would be essentially a long empty-calorie "listicle" of the author's favorite things. But occasionally her enthusiasms raise the question of what she was thinking, or whether she cared about what her enthusiasms meant in their rightful time and place. Is it really a good idea to bring back flaming indoor torchlights? Duels? Does she have any idea what social conditions gave rise to, for instance: the barter economy (yes, she wants it back); bloomers; organ grinders with monkeys; printers' devils (child laborers at printing presses); servants' bells and back staircases in manor houses; "town and country" ("an enlightened, previously widespread, humane lifestyle"); European royalty marrying American industrial heirs for money; Faberge' eggs? Some of the entries are clearly humorous, but they are not easy to distinguish from the ones that are just air-headed, and those too easy to mistake for a sincere longing for the ease and luxury historically afforded by other people's misery.
"Let's Bring Back" is an amusing reminder of memorable people, odd or kitschy aspects of cultural history, and parts of history that can only bring a smile to those who imagine they would have been on the winning side. In most cases, there is a good reason that the thing in question is gone, and more than a whiff of sniffy upper-class condescension in pretending to regret that. (Opera capes? Tiaras?) The author's lack of interest in the cultural context of the things she is nostalgic for makes this book a superficial entertainment at best.