Working- and Middle-class families sat down at the dinner table every night - the shared meal was the touchstone of good manners. Indeed, that dinner table was the one time when we were all together, every day: parents, grandparents, children, siblings. Rudeness between siblings, or a failure to observe the etiquette of passing dishes to one another, accompanied by "please" and "thank you," was the training ground of behavior, the place where manners began.

Working- and Middle-class families sat down at the dinner table every night - the shared meal was the touchstone of good manners. Indeed, that dinner table was the one time when we were all together, every day: parents, grandparents, children, siblings. Rudeness between siblings, or a failure to observe the etiquette of passing dishes to one another, accompanied by