Boston, MA: Little, Brown, c1987. First Edition. Hardcover. 24 cm. 334 Pages. Illustrations. Note on sources. Sources. Bibliography. Index. Ink name on front endpaper, some wear/small chips to DJ edges. Rear DJ flap creased. Mr. Birmingham reveals which families in which cities, from Charleston to New York to St. Louis to San Francisco, have always mattered and have always defined America. Among the individuals covered are J. P. Morgan, John Jacob Astor, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Andrew Carnegie. Stephen Gardner Birmingham (May 28, 1929 – November 15, 2015) was an American author known for his social histories of wealthy American families, often focusing on ethnicity — Jews (his "Jewish trilogy": Our Crowd, The Grandees, The Rest of Us), African-Americans (Certain People), Irish (Real Lace), and the Anglo-Dutch (America's Secret Aristocracy). He also wrote several novels, also about wealthy people. He was a teacher at the University of Cincinnati. Birmingham had a great interest in the upper classes, and wrote numerous books about the wealthy in the United States, generally focusing on their ethnicity, national origins, and geographic locale. His books were acclaimed. His trilogy of books on American Jews: Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York, The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, and The Rest of Us: The Rise of America's Eastern European Jews are perhaps his best known works. Our Crowd was on The New York Times Bestseller List for 47 weeks. Extracts from a review posted on-line: America’s secret aristocracy, says social historian Stephen Birmingham, never talks about the upper class or about any other sort of class. Furthermore, America’s dynasties—the Jays, the Livingstons, the Ingersolls, the Randolphs, the Winthrops, the Gardiners, the Lowells, who speak only to Cabots, and the Cabots—shun publicity as assiduously as they once shunned parvenus like John Jacob Astor and August Belmont. Too bad things couldn’t have continued in that fashion. Birmingham covers a lot of territory—in 309 pages he moves from the aristocracy of New York all the way out to San Francisco. Matters are complicated by the fact that America’s upper crust has done such a fine job of keeping itself hidden that one has little frame of reference in reading about the Philadelphia Ingersolls or the Charleston Pinckneys. The book has bright patches, such as a passage from an etiquette book cautioning ladies that “you will derive no pleasure from making acquaintance with females who are evidently coarse and vulgar, even if you know that they are rich.”. Condition: Very good / Good.
Keywords: John Jacob Astor, Aristocracy, John Jay, Theodore Roosevelt, J. Pierpont Morgan, Jacqueline Kennedy, Wealth, William Randolph, John Jacob Astor