Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Clifton Hood's "In Pursuit of Privilege"

Clifton Hood is professor of history at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He is the author of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York (1993).

Hood applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest book, In Pursuit of Privilege: A History of New York City's Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis, and reported the following:
Oddly, page 99 is representative of much of my entire book. It deals with a crucial moment in the history of New York City, when, as a result of tremendous urban economic growth in the first half of the nineteenth century, its upper class split into separate economic and social elites. I use a book by John Jacob Astor's grandson to define the values and practices of its social elite - whereas Astor himself had been the epitome of the unwashed nouveax riche.

As I do throughout, I put New York City into the context of other big American cities and conclude that its upper class was larger, richer, more dynamic, more ostentatious, and more powerful than urban elites elsewhere.
Learn more about In Pursuit of Privilege at the Columbia University Press.

--Marshal Zeringue