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Britain etc. Paperback – 1 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857201425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857201423
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 2.2 x 15.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Entertaining and eye-popping facts leap out of Mark Easton's elegant hand-book on who we are. Social research blends with social history in this charming and erudite portrait of modern Britain' --Polly Toynbee

'A terrific read' --Observer

'An eminently readable exposition of some of the things we take for granted every day. Mark Easton tells us something of who we are by looking at the ways we got here' --Mark Radcliffe

'Easton doesn't go in for easy clichés... Setting each topic in its historical context, from Britain's obsession with bobbies on the beat to the resurgence of cheesemaking, Easton looks beyond all the pomp and circumstance to offer a highly readable insight into a complex nation.'
--Financial Times

'It's rare that a book can both sit in the loo waiting for a happy random rummage yet be destined for a permanent place on one's reference shelves: this is one' --The Observer

'What sort of place is Britain? Whatever readers do conclude, it seems likely that all would agree this book will have given them some new insight into Britain' --Significance Magazine

About the Author

Mark Easton is a Glasgow-born journalist who has written and presented numerous current affairs programmes and writes the award-winning BBC blog 'Mark Easton's UK'. From 1998-2004 he was the Home and Social Affairs Editor of Channel 4 and in 2004 he became the Home Editor of BBC News.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pale Dog on 17 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this after reading a review in the Sunday papers. It has lived up to the promise. Each chapter addresses a different issue in a direct, simple and informative way. Just dip in as and when you like and be both entertained and informed.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By JMAnderson on 12 May 2012
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This is a quiet bombshell of a book. From its pastel cover and serviceable title we are misdirected into expecting another Brysoneque tour of the nation replete with sketches of village cricket greens and extravagant hats at Ascot. (Sigh). Yet behind Mark Easton's calm, non-judgmental and no-nonsense A to Z tour of current Britain (A is for Alcohol; B is for Bobbie) is a more factual and edgier narrative. His reporter's instinct for a story runs to the counter-intuitive leading to a series of fascinating revelations: alcohol's connection to violence is due to societal conditioning; families are happier now than any time in the last 50 years; there has been no knife crime epidemic; and, my favourite, the mighty dachshund is the most vicious dog of all, the pit bull way down the charts. Easton charts eloquently how public hysteria (often fuelled by the media) forces politicians to act, whether the hysteria is justified or not. To not act immediately, to counsel caution, is to risk your political hide. As a BBC reporter covering the false media circus of alleged crises in knife crime or vicious dogs or the Soham murders Easton has no doubt been forced to go with the news flow. So here is a strong sense of putting the record straight. His best chapter is Y is for Youth, an eloquent, almost incandescent look at how the country has failed its youth. E is for Edgier?
Easton sets out his wares like a street vendor and leaves his reader to judge and value these 26 items on display. Is it a weakness of the book that there is no arc to the story, no attempt to summarise, suggest, or sermonise? At first I thought, yes, but on further reflection I find that it is better as is. After delving expertly into the worlds of media hysteria, spin, false confessions, defensive PR manoeuvres, etc. the contract Easton is making with his reader is more direct and honest. R is for Refreshing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Martin H on 27 Jan 2013
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This is a thoroughly engaging book and a great read. Whilst I don't necessarily agree with every detail (it is written by a journalist after all!) it is none the worse for that. My hope is that Mark Easton will put pen to paper more as his style is very accessible. Buy it, you will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Exchelsea on 20 May 2012
Format: Paperback
A wonderful piece of insightful literature, delving into Britain's eccentricities, obsessions and foibles. Like any good book, it's something I will keep to hand and dip into whenever I feel the need.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By russ_w on 16 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I can't improve on, disagree with or add much to JMAnderson's excellent review (12 May 2012), so I'll just make a couple of extra points. Mark Easton seems to have researched his book exhaustively, throwing in a comparison with Finland here or evidence from some obscure 1957 report there to support an argument, without ever getting bogged down in a welter of facts or figures. His writing is consistently crisp and drily witty, and I'll excuse the occasional painful pun that he seems not to have been able to resist. He also makes judicious use of illuminating quotes from the speeches or writings of other observers of the national scene or experts in the relevant fields. I came away from Britain etc. with a new and better informed outlook on several key aspects of modern British life and armed with some delightful anecdotes that I plan to sprinkle into my conversation wherever possible. I'm tempted to organise a dinner party just so I can show off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By boddington on 5 May 2012
Format: Paperback
An informative and entertaining book that approaches familiar subjects in an unusual but intelligent manner. It makes you see topics in a new light - would recommend to all those interested in current affairs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Holly on 8 July 2013
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As a student of sociology this book caught my eye, I enjoy reading about Britain and this gave me a fantastic insight into the histories of the features of the UK that we see every day without thought. I definitely recommend this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Pamela J Pettitt on 3 Jun 2013
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This book is being read by my brother who can't put the book down. An excellent read which he recommends.
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