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How to be a Brit: How to be an Alien, How to be Inimitable, How to be Decadent [Kindle Edition]

George Mikes
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

George Mikes has written many successful books on a variety of interesting subjects, but one so successful as those on the subject most central to his own experience: his adopted country. The first of these came out in 1946: the ever famous "How to be an Alien." Later he enlarges the picture with "How to be inimitable" and "How to be Decadent." All three books were illustrated by the master of the cartoonists’ art, the late Nicolas Bentley. Here they are, all in one volume, which will make life much easier for today's would-be Brits than it was for those who pervaded them. It is said that a few of the latter actually failed to become indistinguishable from the genuine British article because they found it too tiresome to seek out three separate books: a misfortune that need never again occur to anyone.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2509 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140081798
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (24 April 1986)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI97PM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,119 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love to read this kind of tripe 29 Mar. 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It doesn't matter where in the world you are from you will like this if you REALLY want to learn all about us: from the outsider's point of view.
This book deals beautifully with our penchant for queuing and talking about the weather. It includes such phrases as "a bit blowy" meaning there's a howling gale raging outside. There's also the story of the ageing siblings who get together after 10 years of separation: their conversation is probably too accurately described: it's awful really but there you are, that's us for you.
This book reminds me a lot of the Henry Root letters in many ways and if it were ever revealed that Henry root and George Mikes were one and the same person, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised.
So, if you're into reading all about who we are and what we are, this book is a must.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruthless insight fed with a spoonfool of sugar 21 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I am a Hungarian - just like Mikes was until he moved to England in his 20s. I first read his books on the Brits a year after I moved to Britain (this was 4 years ago). I was absolutely stunned to see my very thoughts and views about Britain put on paper by somebody who could have been my grandfather! The things he wrote are still very true and relevant - enjoy his style but don't make the mistake of not taking him seriously just because you found his book in the "humour" section. You will have a very excellent, true and intimate view of the Brits - the kind only people who came to live here can provide. A must for everybody starting a life in England!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all tourists in Britain 11 Sept. 2011
Format:Paperback
This book was recommended to me by some German friends. I don't know how I managed to live for some years in England without it.

It is very ambitious in scope. In fact this edition is excellent value because it combines several smaller books.

When I say it is ambitious, I mean it doesn't just tell you how to adopt English mannerisms. It even tells you how to build an English town. George Mikes believed that English towns were devised according to a devious set of rules in order to confuse foreigners. He has managed to obtain these rules and has published them so that other nations can build a little piece of England everywhere.

One particular rule is very cunning and I think the Ministry has been very strict in adhering to it throughout the country, but particularly in Devon, where I live:

"Street names should be painted clearly and distinctly on large boards. Then hide these boards carefully."

There are many more nuggets of gold like this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it 3 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Still laughing. This is a fun book even though some of the language is old fashioned Georges has observed the Brits very keenly. Just one warning it includes all that is written in his earlier work "How to be an Alien" - so you don't need to buy both books!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Better than a book, this is a sort of manual where everyone can find subjects and manners not so much for imitation, as for recognizing himself as one of the good stock; or at least to identify his Brit inner component if it exists, and drive it to emerge. Specially if he is a foreigner. The explication is that this peculiar attitude descripted or suggested in this work is inimitable: You must be born there, or nothing !
Hours of fun and pleasant surprises.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 5 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great little book to tuck away in your bag or suitcase when traveling. It was recommended to me by a Hungarian friend.
George Mikes' observations on the British way of life is quite extraordinary considering he was born and brought up in an Eastern European country. His writings are full of anecdotes of the British mannerisms. I would highly recommend this little gem to anyone considering a visit to our shores for the first time, some of the observations appear a bit dated as this book was primarily written many years ago but that shouldn't detract from the quality of the read.......highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, George 11 Aug. 2010
By Awol
Format:Paperback
I first read this book about thirty years ago. I guess it was pretty well dated even then, what with the social revolution of the sixties having intervened. Nevertheless, I still found it hugely entertaining and provocative. I realized early on that it was not meant to be a cosy exploration of how quaint and eccentric we Brits can be. There was a compelling edge that I generally find lacking from the works of more recent commentators. I felt that, instead of sucking up to me with fawning platitudes, Mikes was looking me squarely in the eye and telling it how he found it. In short, I felt I was being treated as a grown-up who was big enough to handle any negative criticism. Thank you Mr Mikes.
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