Books: Not Our Class, Dearie

THE RIGHT PEOPLE by Stephen Birmingham. 360 pages. Little, Brown. $10.

In these paltry times of inconspicuous consumption, when the rich no longer recognize their obligation to entertain the poor by erecting Rhenish castles and commissioning steam yachts, a book such as this guide to posh deserves the Jay Gould Award for Public Service. It is already a bestseller—which gives Stephen Birmingham, author of Our Crowd, the distinction of having two books on the Big List simultaneously. The dust jacket of The Right People describes it as "an important, authoritative work of serious social comment." Fortunately, this is nonsense. The Right People...