The Right People: A Portrait of the American Social Establishment

The Right People: A Portrait of the American Social Establishment

by Stephen Birmingham


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It’s no secret that the rich are different from the rest of us. But the rich, as author Stephen Birmingham so insightfully points out, are also different from the very rich. There’s Society, and then there’s Real Society, and it takes multiple generations for families of the former to become entrenched in the latter. Real Society is not about the money—or rather, it’s not only about the money—it is about history, breeding, tradition, and most of all, the name.

The Right People is an engrossing and illuminating journey through the customs and habits of the phenomenally wealthy, from the San Francisco elite to the upper crust of New York’s Westchester County. It is a marvelously anecdotal, intimately detailed overview of the lives of the American aristocracy: where they gather and dine; their games and sports, clubs and parties, friendships and feuds; their mating, marriage, and divorce rituals—a potpourri of priceless true stories featuring the Astors, Goulds, Vanderbilts, Dukes, Biddles, and other lofty names from the pages of the Social Register.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493024674
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 08/16/2016
Pages: 372
Sales rank: 787,293
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Stephen Birmingham is a preeminent social historian, known for his books The Right People, Real Lace, and The Grandees. He allows his reader unparalleled access to the most exclusive society sets, and tells their stories with great warmth and wit.

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Social Establishment: Growing Up "Upper"

1 Who Are Who? 3

2 Was It Ever What It Used to Be? 16

3 "How Shall We Tell the Children?" 44

4 The New "St. Grottlesex Set" 56

5 "We're Coming Out Tonight" 74

6 Playing the Game 99

7 The Dirty Part 113

8 Lovely, Lovely Ladies 122

9 The Club Convention 137

Part 2 How Money Lives: A Nosegay of the Best Addresses 147

10 The Riches of Westchester 149

11 By the Shores of Lake St. Clair 166

12 The Main Line Eternal 184

13 The Company Town: West Hartford, Conn. 06107 209

14 The Power Elite: Society in the Capital 219

Part 3 How Money Plays: A Selection of Pleasures and Playgrounds 239

15 "Society's Most Enduring Invention" 241

16 "July Was Always for the Shore" 249

17 "August Was Always for the Mountains" 260

18 The Palmy Beaches'(And the "Other" Miami) 273

19 The Palmy Springs (All That Money Can Buy) 294

Part 4 But Is It Really Dead? 317

20 "Obedience to the Unenforceable" 319

Index 343

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