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The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America (Aristocracy & Caste in America) Paperback – September 10, 1987
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Baltzell is a very astute observer with a talent for a phrase, so the book is very readable. It's not particularly dated in style or content. However, it is a lengthy, serious study.
Though originally published in 1964, the insights endure to today. (Perhaps because the class structure endures.) Those interested in sociology, culture or an informed understanding of history or society will enjoy this book.
In summary ... "The book may actually hold more interest today than when it was first published. New generations of readers can resonate all the more to this masterly and beautifully written work that provides sociological understanding of its engrossing subject"--Robert K. Merton, Columbia University
The original work was almost the only text avalable to serious sociology students of social differentiation at the time it was written in the 1960's and it is still the best work on class origins' effects on social values in this country, even today.
The only dumb, or, perhaps, intellectually cowardly, feature of this book--and, again, I think Philadelphia Gentlemen is better on this point--is that Baltzell is forever urging the caste-ly to be more aristocratic-assimilationist without even addressing the question of why it should have to be, how and why it was ever put in the position of needing to do this or die: in other words, why was immigration so great and so variegated? Who let it be so? Wouldn't things have been better if not? Well, he does answer that one implicitly at least: he seems to regard ethnic quotas as wicked but he never says why. Wouldn't putting up the proverbial drawbridge for a time help assimilation?Read more ›