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Bog-Standard Britain: How Mediocrity Ruined This Great Nation Hardcover – 29 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (29 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849011206
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849011204
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Quentin Letts is parliamentary sketch writer and theatre critic for the Daily Mail. A regular broadcaster on radio and television, he was formerly New York correspondent for The Times and gossip columnist for the Daily Telegraph. He recently presented Radio 4's series 'What's The Point Of?' He lists his recreations, in Who's Who as 'gossip' and 'character defenestration'.

Product Description

Review

I salute Mr Letts's one-man stand against the ugly and brainless Bog-Folk. (Peter Lewis Daily Mail)

Book Description

Bestselling author Quentin Letts vents his spleen on the state of Modern Britain.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. Crabtree on 17 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rather disappointing - Letts off form.

Similar to 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain, but without such individual targets, and less accurate. Has the author grown careless or success gone to his head? There is still plenty of clever invective, but too much that seems ordinary or nasty. There are too many metaphors and too many fail (for example good manners being like the bones of a trout, preventing it from turning into squelch, plus other rather forced comparisons.)

Much of the invective could only preach to the converted. A reference to Nevil Shute's novel about an invasion of England discusses the Englishmen's continuing to address each other by their surnames. The codes of politeness the British used (and discarded) are subtle, their purpose was subtle; you cannot just cite them and say we have declined. It's right to complain about being addressed as "mate" though. I sacked an estate agent partly for that, though like Letts, I have to grin and bear it everywhere else I turn.

This book is amusing, but it should either be thought-provoking by making you realise how and why the various awfulnesses described have happened, or else actually explain them (amusingly above all.) Thus I think Letts has deployed his furious skills too easily and carelessly.

"50 People" is far better. It is funnier, and by attaching each of its rages to Britons that embody their cause, it is more revealing and more accurate. That said, there is still a fair bit of really decent stuff in here - a paean to Hyacinth Bucket amongst plenty of others, so please don't let me put you off if you fancy these articulate rants.

Nevertheless if you haven't read "50 People" then I urge you to read that; then you'll need to thirst a bit to need to read "Bog Standard" too.
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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Jean D. Andrews on 10 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just loved this book and could not put it down. It gave voice to all the rage I have felt over the last ten years at the awful decline in standards in this country. When we have one ex Prime Minister whose early ambition was to a pop star and another who thinks he can gain popularity by appreciating such tripe as the X factor, just what have we come to? There is such a thing as excellence, there are such things as good standards of behaviour. The truth (sad for some, but understood by those who were lucky enough to live their formative years in a less trivial age) is that the best man can achieve is only ever attained through a combination of genuine talent and an awful lot of hard graft and self-discipline. How can this nation ever survive in a competitive world if these values are not inculcated in our education system and fostered in the offerings of our television programmes? Most people I know prefer "Little Dorrit" and those excellent earlier series such as "War and Peace" and "I Claudius" to "Big Brother" and all of the rest of the reality TV rubbish. What we get now is "bread and circuses" An attempt by a powerful elite to satisfy a public they assume to be utterly stupid! Quentin Letts manages to pinpoint all that is wrong in Britain a way which will both make you laugh and feel glad that your views are shared. Get it and read it!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I don't know whether to say that I enjoyed reading this book is quite the way to put it--I agree with a lot of what Mr Letts says in it, but it's very depressing reading in places.

A problem with this book is that the basic idea behind it, that Britain has gone to the dogs, taken as the griping of a grumpy old man, may be acceptable; but if one wants more than this, there's a need for less opinion and more analysis. For example, Mr Letts tells us that rabid egalitarianism has reduced British education to a very low order of competence. This proposition may be true; it's something I believe to be true myself; but Mr Letts provides no real support for it (neither do I have any means of proving or disproving it).

If there's one group that's made a major contribution to dragging Britain down into the bog which Mr Letts depicts and so bewails, it's journalists. The Australian barbarian Murdoch and his repulsive hacks on "The News of the World" could operate in the way they did only because the underlying culture of journalism had already prepared the ground. But not among the many targets at which Mr Letts fires off his blunderbuss are journalists. Not surprising, of course, considering that he's one himself (his book, be warned, is written in the common journalistic facetious/smug style to which we've had--alas!--to become accustomed). Also, he's shot himself in the foot by using in his writing certain coarse and vulgar expressions which typify the kind of baseness in modern Britain he laments all through his book.

I'm not sure what the point is of books of this kind.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A book you can pick up and put down without losing any thread. I read mine mostly 'on the throne'. It is smirkingly rather than raucously funny - and all the better for that.
If you have any cynical view of politics this will reinforce your stance, and if you don't, you really ought to get out more, read more, and ask more questions of our 'controllers'.
However I must point out that for the last 4 elections I have spoiled and signed my voting paper. It really is the only way forward when most of the parties are claiming to target the same people.
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