4 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
notamobster reviewed Class : A Guide Through the American Status System on
Helpful Score: 2
This book is a bit dated in it's points of reference, having been written in the early 80's, but it is highly informative. Fussell will make you self-conscious while reading it. I would suggest this book for anyone who considers their self a 'watcher of people'.
It's very interesting, but you should be an avid reader. The humor is sharp, but the book reads like a text-book at times. Not for the easily distracted.
I was hoping for a witty, affectionate portrayal of American society and its strata -- what a disappointment. The author is a snob, and a nasty one at that. While funny at times and possessing some insights, his overall tone is sneering, mean-spirited, and, more than anything, seems like he's trying to over-compensate for his own class anxieties.
It's true that its references are nearly completely outdated, but the survey could have been an interesting sketch of American society at that time.
One reviewer said that it's not for the easily offended -- the problem isn't that there are offensive items or conclusions (what book on class wouldn't have to make touchy points), but rather that Fussell writes like an utterly charmless crank.
If I wrote that I grabbed this book, sat on the couch on my front porch because thats where the comfortable couch is, hung a pest strip to keep the bugs away, opened a Bud, and enjoyed this book, youd have a picture of me AND my class in your mind.
What if I told you I dont drink, my couch is in my living room surrounded by bookcases full of books Ive read and a few I have yet to read, Im a vegetarian who is working on her Masters in Rhetoric and Technical Communication, and I thoroughly enjoyed this work.
This is the point to Class. We all accidently judge and its not right, but we do it anyway. Fussell is over the top. I believe he has to be to make his point, a satirical point. Ive read several of his other works, and he is a man possessed with the study of rhetoric and how people, himself included, accidently let rhetoric make their minds up for them instead of using their critical thinking skills. Fussells examples are dated; however, we can all fill-in new examples.
A prime example is the iPhone. Look at the lines of people when a new iPhone comes out and most of these people have the previous addition. They are convinced they need this new device, but the fact is no matter what is added, it will still be just a phone.
We are a world obsessed with not only class and judging others but also a world obsessed with thinking our possessions make us who we are. I believe Fussell is following through on Dr. M. L. Kings message that the content of character is what should be important, and Fussell goes so over the top, satire, that we really end up thinking or re-thinking everything we think we know about ourselves and others.
Therefore I recommend this book because it touches on everything we think, see, and say.