Top Drawer: American High Society from the Gilded Age to the Roaring Twenties

New Word City
3
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The age of high society in the United States was remarkably brief but also glorious. The names of the families of "people-we-know" - from Astor to Vanderbilt, McCormick to Palmer, Cabot to Whitney - and the places they called home - Fifth Avenue, Newport, Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Prairie Avenue in Chicago, Delmonico's ballroom - still evoke glittering images of style, wealth, and often-outrageous show. The era of "The 400," with all its glamour gentility, and pretension, is marvelously evoked in this book. Top Drawer is affectionate and ironic by turns, pointing out, for example, that the American elite were the greatest art patrons since the Renaissance, yet recounting scandals and foibles with a knowing eye that never loses sight of the ruthless quest for power that underlay the gilded surface.

"The hoi polloi get their own back at the hoity-toity in Top Drawer, Mary Cable's witty social history of the Gilded age of Astors, Vanderbilts, Van Rensselaers, Havemeyers, Chatfield-Taylors, et al. A stylish performance . . . . Cable's polished prose, cool wit, and extensive research make illuminating history and grand entertainment."
- Publishers Weekly
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About the author

Mary Cable is the author of The Case of the Slave Ship Amistad, The Blizzard of 88, and Top Drawer.

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4.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
New Word City
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Published on
Jan 19, 2018
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Pages
275
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ISBN
9781640191358
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Modern / 19th Century
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / Social History
History / United States / 19th Century
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Winner, 2018 PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing
Short-listed for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize
A Top 10 Science Book of Fall 2017, Publishers Weekly
A Best History Book of 2017, The Guardian

"Warning: She spares no detail!" —Erik Larson, bestselling author of Dead Wake

In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery and shows how it was transformed by advances made in germ theory and antiseptics between 1860 and 1875. She conjures up early operating theaters—no place for the squeamish—and surgeons, who, working before anesthesia, were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than patients’ afflictions, and they were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldn’t have been more hazardous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister, who would solve the riddle and change the course of history.

Fitzharris dramatically reconstructs Lister’s career path to his audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection and could be countered by a sterilizing agent applied to wounds. She introduces us to Lister’s contemporaries—some of them brilliant, some outright criminal—and leads us through the grimy schools and squalid hospitals where they learned their art, the dead houses where they studied, and the cemeteries they ransacked for cadavers.

Eerie and illuminating, The Butchering Art celebrates the triumph of a visionary surgeon whose quest to unite science and medicine delivered us into the modern world.

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