Synopses & Reviews
In the spirit of On Bullshit, a wonderfully erudite and entertaining essay about manners.
When Lucinda Holdforth told her mother she was writing an essay about manners, her mother said, Youre writing a book about manners? Deeply offended, Lucinda called her best friend and relayed what her mother had said. Her best friend paused before saying, Well, you do say f*** a lot.
Welcome to the interesting quagmire Lucinda Holdforth finds herself in. She believes that manners are essential to civilization. Yet according to the knife-and-fork snobs, or exclusive bores, her modern-day attitude might not scream manners. And in this age of global warming and warfare, arent manners frivolous? Do manners really matter? Yes! she passionately exclaims. Citing everyone from Tocqueville to Proust to Borat, Holdforth shows how mannerswhich many of us might think are inconsequentialare actually the cornerstone of civilization. Incredibly smart, the book illustrates how the philosophies of the greatest thinkers are relevant to our very modern lives.
I admit to an affinity for books on civility, perhaps because I myself once wrote one. Lucinda Holdforths delightful book is the best I have seen on this subject in many years. She sets herself the Herculean task of arguing for manners in a world that deems them unimportant. She is equally at ease with Rousseau and Rosa Parks, with the Bloomsbury Group and the Bible, with 19th- century etiquette books and 2-st century Hollywood. (She also makes reference to Castigliones 16th-century Book of the Courtier, among my favorites in my own college days.) Rejecting the cant that good manners are some sort of right- wing conspiracy, Holdforth persuasively links good manners not only to good character but to the stability and the progress of the society itself. Not to pay attention to a book this thoughtful might even be considered unmannerly.
Stephen L. Carter
"Lucinda Holdforth (what a perfect name!) is the Marcus Aurelius of manners. She's a genius at how to live. Why Manners Matter
is a wonderful, enticing, brash, deep, witty book. Read it. It will make you the nicest person of your generation." -E.Jean Carroll, Elle
"Don't miss this small but compelling book." -P. M. Forni, author of The Civility Solution
In the spirit of "On Bullshit" comes a wonderfully erudite and entertaining essay about manners. Citing everyone from Proust to "Borat," Holdforth shows how manners are the cornerstone of civilization.
"Witty, well-reasoned, and, yes, occasionally potty mouthed, the fiercely talented Lucinda Holdforth may be doing more to save civilization than anyone I know. Holdforth has held forth, and for this I bow down low before her." -Henry Alford, author of How To Live
In this age of global warming and warfare, aren't manners frivolous? Do manners really matter? Yes! Lucinda Holdforth passionately exclaims. Holdforth wonderfully manages to show that manners are not about saying please and thank you, or about teaching your children to address people by Mr. or Mrs. Citing everyone from Erasmus, Tocqueville, T.S. Elliot to George Orwell and Proust and Borat, Holdforth shows how manners- which many of us might think are inconsequential-are actually the cornerstone to civilization.
About the Author
Lucinda Holdforth has been a researcher at ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) television, an official in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a speechwriter to former deputy prime minister Kim Beazley, and a communications specialist for a management consulting firm. She lives in Sydney.