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How Not to Be American: Misadventures in the Land of the Free Paperback – 3 Oct 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (3 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781312354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781312353
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 533,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

  • ‘This is an exceptionally urbane and witty collection of essays, loosely linked around varieties of Americana...and although the book is laugh-out-loud funny, the reader is acutely aware that the comedy is a carapace for profound misgivings...  If you like the Daily Show or The Colbert Report you will find an ally, a comforter and a co-conspirator in McEwen. If you don’t like them, you’ll probably never pick this book up and have a deep scepticism about the written word anyway.’

(Scotsman)

About the Author

TODD McEWEN was born in California and burnished in New York. His previous novels include McX: A Romance of the Dour, Who Sleeps with Katz and, most recently, The Five Simple Machines. Long a resident of Edinburgh, he cannot think what is to be done.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arlene A on 25 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a hilarious and considered dip into American culture, with weirdly quite a lot about clothes in it. The opening essay 'Thoughts on the New American Uniform' is just exactly what America looks like, then there is the funniest thing ever about Cary Grant's suit. If you are a fan of North by Northwest, let me just say you need this book LOL!

A study in American repression and denial? Partly so. But there is something much more gentle about How Not to be an American. There is an article about the Elks in it which while touching, never stops, like the rest of the book, ridiculing the lot of it, or at least allowing it to ridicule itself. We all know America is in decline, and even though this is obvious in terms of economics and foreign policy, it is just plain funny seeing how all this has manifested itself in, well, what folks wear and what they eat.

Very funny book :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leamington Books on 25 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
What's it called when something is funny and sad at the same time? There's a lot of that in How Not to be An American, so does that mean your face makes strange contortions when you're reading it on the plane? This book is a selection of 25 articles, or essays, each portraying some aspect of the fall of modern America. It's all very personal however, and this isn't some ivory tower attack, but a look from the bottom up . . . there's quite a lot about growing up in America, and being a kid, and there is some very funny stuff in there.

I loved this book, and have read most of it twice. There is an essay called The Better Burger Bureau, which kind of says it all, but getting this up close and personal with America, can be quite uncomfortable at times, though most of it is high farce, comic observation, or occasionally plain silly . . . such as McEwen's list of unfilmable films which he feels should be made, for the motion picture form to reach its apotheosis, such as:

Paradise Lost (1947) TECHNICOLOR dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Don Ameche, Loretta Young. 'In Yellowstone National Park, a blind, psychotic forest ranger frames a newlywed couple for littering.'

*****
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leila Aboulela on 6 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why does a soft, nurturing American childhood careen into frustration and interrupted fulfillment? These essays don't answer this question instead they stand in awe of this trajectory, presenting it as model for a whole nation, jabbing it with the double blades of comedy and love. The reader zooms in onto the lost college student making a public phone call, gets sucked into the nightmarish world of a cartoon character. There is music, movies, American classics and the best kind of travel writing. Proof after proof that is it the particular that makes the greatest impression, the subjective vision that produces the best writing. This is the most exciting book I have read for a very long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward Gibbons on 26 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
If you want LIGHT AMUSEMENT read THE BEANO. If you want to read one of the FUNNIEST and most INSIGHTFUL books around try HOW NOT TO BE AMERICAN by Todd McEwen.
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