The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities


How did the parlor, parasol, piano lesson, and white-glove style of life and manners come to a nation whose inhabitants, save for the very few families of wealth, lived the simplest of pioneer lives? Bushman's answer: a long-held belief, so crucial to the country's politics, in the inalienable right of every American to membership in the middle class. 130 photographs.

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