A (sometimes unintentionally) funny, narrow view of the wealthy that will tickle the outsider’s fancy.


The Art of Social Climbing


A tell-it-like-it-is guide to faking it till you make it when it comes to wealth and class.

So you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth. What can you do to not only act like you were but to actually make (or perhaps marry into) the kind of money that puts you in the big leagues? Kerney, who comes from old money, has witnessed firsthand the differences between the haves and the have-nots as well as the manners and outlooks that separate old money from new. For chapters, he divides his guide into subjects close to the hearts of the haves (or the wants): On Vacation; Marrying Up; Name-Dropping, Bragging, Bigotry, and Gossip are just a taste of what an aspiring social queen or king will need to study up on if she or he is going to breathe in that rarified atmosphere. While much of Kerney’s advice is simply common sense—learn your table manners and be able to use them with ease, never condescend, don’t tolerate abuse from your spouse—others border on the absurd: Choose, of course, the less foppish Stubbs & Wooten needlepoint slippers, and if you must wear a Medic Alert bracelet, Tiffany’s gold is preferable. And did you know that occupations are a very middle-class concern? Instead, the haves “are much more interested in your interests and pastimes.” As a study in the milieu of the old-fashioned rich, this amusing book would be almost tongue-in-cheek if it weren’t so earnest. Being extremely wealthy—whether a relatively recent state of affairs or a generational hand-me-down—“takes more than hard work….There are not many people born with all that it takes.” Some of the most interesting parts of the book are the anecdotes about Kerney’s family; his grandmother, cousin and other extended family may have been better served by their own biographies. While this book can’t replace the classic tomes on manners and etiquette, it is worth a glance just to see what you’re missing—“top-notch” liquor and caviar, anyone?

A (sometimes unintentionally) funny, narrow view of the wealthy that will tickle the outsider’s fancy.

Pub Date: April 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1495441868

Page Count: 112

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2014

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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