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

New Word City
3
Free sample

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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"Rugoff's spirited and immensely beguiling book takes a joyful bite out of the nineteenth century."
- The New York Times

"King of the Lobbyists" Sam Ward was best known for his talent for throwing parties - courtesy of the U.S. Treasury. And Alva Vanderbilt squandered tens of thousands on one evening to crack the closed social circle of the Mrs. Astor. And when Jay Gould, of Black Friday fame, sent his card to one of the Rothschilds, it was returned with the comment, "Europe is not for sale." It was this climate of mid- and late-nineteenth-century excess that fostered the most rapid period of growth in the history of the United States, replacing the unyielding Puritanism of Cotton Mather with the flexible creed of Henry Ward Beecher. National Book Award nominee Milton Rugoff gives his uniquely revealing view of the Gilded Age in this collective biography of Americans from 1850 to 1890.

Writing on the political spoilsmen, money kings, parvenus, forty-niners, lords of the press, sexual transgressors, and women's rights leaders, Rugoff focuses on thirty-six men and women from almost every walk of life. His exponents include U.S. Grant, John Charles Frémont, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jim Fisk, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Horatio Alger, free-love advocate Victoria Woodhull, first female surgeon Bethenia Owens-Adair, Brigham Young's rebellious nineteenth wife Anna Eliza Young, Boston Brahmin Charles Eliot Norton, Gold Rush pioneer Sarah Royce, black visionary Sojourner Truth, and to critique American society, Walt Whitman.

In examining the Gilded Age, Milton Rugoff offers fresh glimpses into the lives of the celebrities of the era, as well as some lesser-known Americans, while at the same time revealing the roots of problems that still plague us today.
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