- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st Edition edition (19 May 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 000724892X
- ISBN-13: 978-0007248926
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.4 x 22.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 787,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Only in America Hardcover – 19 May 2008
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‘Lucid and entertaining.’ Metro
‘There’s much of interest here.’ London Lite
‘A first class guide to US politics in general, and Washington DC in particular.’ Daily Mail
‘An excellent, quirky guide to Washington life…it is also a memoir of America in the post 9/11 Dubya years…Frei has a felicitous turn of phrase and his observations are always insightful and sometime extremely funny’ Sunday Express
About the Author
Matt Frei has been the BBC's Washington correspondent since 2002. Prior to that he was the BBC's Asia correspondent based in Singapore and Hong Kong – taking up his post just before the handover to China. From 1992 to 1996 he was BBC Southern Europe correspondent in Rome. He has witnessed many dramatic events including the fall of Berlin Wall and reported on the intifada and the Gulf War as the London foreign affairs correspondent.
Matt has won several awards including the Amnesty International Asia Award in 1997 and 1998 for his reports on Vietnam and Indonesia and a Royal Television Society International News Award for his reports of turmoil in East Timor.
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Top Customer Reviews
Frei's reporting of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans landed him in hot water in some quarters, so he's not above being controversial and challenging when the siutation arises. For anyone who enjoys Matt Frei's informed, intelligent reporting, this book will not disapppoint.
The book is valuable in two ways. It offers a corrective to British readers who may have formed the view that the United States is essentially Britain writ larger. In addition, it gives an insight into how things have changed since 9/11. Frei devotes a chapter to each of several subjects, from think-tanks to obesity, teasing out some of the implications of each for what it means to be American in the 21st century.
As one might expect, the book reads easily - although I didn't find it as amusing as some other reviewers have suggested. Its main fault is a certain lightness and an unwillingness to judge too harshly which deprives the book of any real critical force. It's one of those instances in which BBC-bred values of objectivity and fairness don't necessarily serve the reader well. The book also appears to have been very lightly edited: there are mistakes throughout, including howlers: the contention that the US has a fifth of the world's population; "Cubic Bay" for "Subic Bay"; and many others, all of which lend a hasty air to the whole.
On balance, worth a quick read, but not revelatory.
The book was largely written before Obama came to power and so, apart from a few comments about the run up to the 2008 election, together with a brief introductory chapter written just after Obama's victory, there is no discussion of the Obama presidency even in its earliest days. There is discussion of some of the defining issues of the presidency of George W Bush and contemporary American politics. I found the brief description of an interview with a disillusioned former member of the Bush White House both interesting and sad. The chapter covering Hurricane Katrina succinctly demonstrates the incompetence of the Bush administration.
The book is perhaps most interesting when it describes non-political life, whether this be matters close to his home & heart (finding a home, his children's schools) or wider matters such as religion in America where Frei takes a different tack from the norm, looking at a California mega-church.
Although in some senses this book is now 'out-dated' after the election of the new administration, much of the commentary is timely. Watching a news broadcast a week or so ago I was reminded strongly of Frei's description of the issue of illegal immigration from South America.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book which I thought was well written, interesting and informative. Read morePublished on 10 Jan. 2013 by G. Colville
This book is written by the former BBC America correspondent, about the state of American politics. It's a little out of date, as it doesn't much mention Obama, so I think it was... Read morePublished on 12 Oct. 2010 by miss_spookiness
a boring book. don't bother.
the seller was brilliant though. nice and quick and exactly as described.
Matt Frei gives us an interesting view of modern life in the United States of America.
We do get what we expect from this in that there is an expert analysis of the... Read more
This is an outstanding account of life and happenings in the United States during the past few years, up to and including the 2008 election, as seen through the eyes of the BBC... Read morePublished on 11 Oct. 2009 by Miguel
There has been mention of a few typos in the other reviews of this book.
I would go further - there are far too many typos - more than I have encountered in any book of... Read more
I can't really see the point of this. I've noticed that quite a few really great broadcast presenters make mediocre writers - Steven Fry is a case in point. Read morePublished on 30 Mar. 2009 by Jezza