Book Review: Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners by Laura Claridge

In the interest of full disclosure, I read this book because an agent suggested it as a way to help with Dames, Dishes, and Degrees. Having finished the book, I think I understand what the agent was getting at, but I am pretty sure I don’t want to write a book like this one.

Before reading the book, I didn’t really know much about Post. Claridge does a good job of positioning Post in the Gilded Age upper class, but it is just not that interesting. Emily Post suffered a humiliating divorce and then wrote six novels. At the age of fifty she transitioned into writing about etiquette, publishing Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home in 1922.

The story of Post’s evolution into a successful, independent career woman holds some interest but once Claridge gets past 1922, she resorts to almost a laundry list of what Post did every subsequent year.

Claridge fills in the gaps with basically irrelevant stories about what else was happening in America and the world while Emily Post was single-mindedly pursing her goals. This is not a book I would use as a model for my own writing.