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

3.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susanna Salk grew up in Essex, Massachusetts and went to boarding school at Milton Academy. She got her B.A. in English at Vassar College and then moved to Manhattan where she helped launch Elle Decor magazine. In addition to being a playwright, she is now Special Projects Editor At House & Garden magazine. She and her husband and Eric live in Roxbury, Connecticut with their two boys.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Assouline Publishing; First Edition edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 275940126X
  • ISBN-13: 978-2759401260
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #529,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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By Ann on July 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Salk's sense of style seems best personified and articulated in this book by those who had only the white part of WASP (white Anglo Saxon Protestent) part in common with the author. She credits Grace Kelly with her Irish Catholic background but seems to claim the Kennedys, the Bouviers, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others as her own. The thesis and title need a rethink.
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Format: Hardcover
The bookstore owner and I thought it was a parody, especially given the cover photograph. We paged through this book looking for evidence of humor or perhaps even depth in the analysis of the privileged life. We found neither.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book disappointing. it is a very shallow superficial look at a really interesting subject. It goes into no depth whatsoever, and the only wasps she knows anything about or portrays are her small new england family. It seems to be a strictly commercial try at making a little money with virturaly no real research or information.
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