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Humans and war; American manners

Humans and war; American manners

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Her subject is the American character, particularly our abiding optimism. "Dewy-eyed third marriages," she writes, "and fortunes garnered after bankruptcy keep the general optimistic blaze rekindled." There is also our work ethic. "In the American story, virtue was expected to remain actively striving, thus quashing the chief attraction of belonging to the upper classes, elsewhere known as the leisure classes." We’re uneasy, she says, with too much leisure (though I know of a couple of exceptions). And we’re uneasy with servants. We don’t quite know what to make of them, beyond knowing that we don’t want to be one.

Martin is obviously having a good time. Here she is on weddings: "As bridal couples will often say, they expect this to be the happiest day of their lives. Alas, this could be only too true."

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