One Of My Favorite Authors: Dead At 88

Paul Fussell’s 1975 study, “The Great War and Modern Memory,” about the First World War, is one of my favorite books, so I was sorry to hear that Fussell has died, at the age of 88. Fussell wrote many books in the wake of “Great War”‘s success. I especially enjoyed “Class: A Guide Through the American Status System” (1983), in which he divided American society into nine strata — from the idle rich (“the top out-of-sight”) to the institutionalized and imprisoned (“the bottom out-of-sight”) — and offered a comprehensive and often witty tour through the observable habits of each. Sample sentence: “Not smoking at all is very upper-class,” he wrote, “but in any way calling attention to one’s abstinence drops one to middle-class immediately.”

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