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Sorry! The English and Their Manners

Sorry! The English and Their Manners [Kindle Edition]

Henry Hitchings
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A writer of apparently limitless learning and intelligence, who writes works of scholarship masquerading as popular narrative non-fiction . . . the man is something else' (Guardian)

'An excellent history, just don't read it at the dinner table . . . this insightful book will give you pause the next time you wipe your nose on the duvet or - social death! - top up your host's glass at a New Year's Eve party' (The Times)

'Amusing and enlightening . . . he is particularly insightful in depicting the evolutionary shift manners have taken since they were first codified on paper in the Middle Ages' (Financial Times)

'[Hitchings] is a lovely writer, full of interesting ideas and neat turns of phrase' (Daily Mail)

'Hitchings has made a bold, entertaining and often imaginative, assault on a fundamentally impossible subject' (Observer)

'Manners is a fascinating subject, and Hitchings handles it with all his customary wit, knowledge and elegance' (Mail on Sunday)

'Highly entertaining and absorbing book' (Daily Telegraph)

'Understated elegance . . . it is itself an impeccably well-mannered and deeply English product' (The Spectator)

'Witty and sharp . . . full of diverting nuggets and anecdotes . . . elegantly written' (Sunday Times)

'A scholarly study of English manners' (Country Life)

'Illuminating and entertaining' (Sunday Telegraph)

'Hitching's shares provocative opinions . . . he exhibits an appetite for confounding myths about social mores' (Metro)

'Endlessly entertaining' (Literary Review)

'Diverting new book' (Lady)

An elegant and erudite book . . . Hitchings has an encyclopaedic mind, but like the well-mannered Englishman he is, wears his learning lightly (Independent)

Full of diverting nuggets and anecdotes (Sunday Times)

Very well-mannered and authoritative survey of British behaviour (Sunday Telegraph)

What better book for a foreign beach than an exploration of our enduring stereotypes. This history of faux pas and foibles is ideal for broadcasting entertaining 'Did-you-knows?' (Mail on Sunday)

He's terrific. He's struck the perfect balance between hard academic insight and sheer readability - and achieves both (Evening Standard)

Scholarly without being heavy, and rich with acute anecdotes and diversions into social history . . . Pacy and enthusiastic, Hitchings's book entertains and enlightens (Daily Telegraph)

The erudite and witty Henry Hitchings is the perfect guide through the minefield of social conventions we call manners (Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

Manners: the quintessential business of being English.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 586 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1848546645
  • Publisher: John Murray (17 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #173,540 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Misapprehension 26 Jan 2013
By charlie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've left `Sorry! The English and Their Manners' unfinished, so write to flag-up to potential readers that the book isn't what I thought it was going to be (and the failing may well be all mine). I had assumed from the jaunty title (and a review in one of the Sunday newspapers) that it would be amusing and lightly informative as a `dip-in, dip-out' bedtime read. Certainly, it tries to be accessible and jocular but, au fond, it came over to me as a jazzed-up academic paper of specialist appeal. Do by all means buy it if the subject matter interests you - but with your eyes open as to the nature of your purchase.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of interesting details and ideas 27 Jan 2013
By Owlfan
This is an informative, readable book about the English obsession with manners, which will appeal to history fans. It also includes ideas from anthropology and picks up on the author's own experiences, to result in a book that is quite quirky but also full of interest and food for thought. Highly enjoyable and packed with anecdotes which I will enjoy retelling.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a history of polite behaviour 23 July 2013
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is an enjoyable book which explores the development of what has been considered to be polite or well mannered behaviour since the middle ages. Only in the last few chapters do matters come up to date, but this is not a book which has much to say about particular behaviours, or what is good or bad manners, in our time - instead the author discusses amongst much else the efficacy of ASBOs and the perceptions of good manners at different times, showing that manners are closely related to time and place with different expectations applying in different circumstances.

I enjoyed this book, although it wasn't what I was expecting, and I found it to be an entertaining and informantive work about social history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read 11 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A well written delightful read full of intriguing facts. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not just a sham, a shambles. 22 Mar 2014
I will write a review if I find a book outstandingly good or outstandingly bad. This one falls into the latter category. I don't wish to parrot the other reviews posted but I want to add my annoyance at being sold a pig in a poke, for which I hold Amazon at least partly responsible. (Don't you check the product against the blurb? Or are the duped customers supposed to do that via these pages?) Yes, there are chapters on etiquette and which fork to use, but this is a book of 392 pages. Even if you don't count the absurdly long notes and bibliography, it's still 323, which means oodles of confused padding and irrelevance. If I had to take a guess, it would be that Mr. Hitchings had an unsuccessful doctoral thesis on his hands, which he somehow persuaded some friends to turn into this chaotic book.

He may even have read all the 400 odd books listed at the back but a lot of knowledge is a dangerous thing, particularly when added to cliché and wrong-headedness. Wrong-headedness? 'Yet today the English past is typically seen as an encumbrance, and Englishness is a dirty secret.' Leave aside the fact (which I have just noticed) that the erudite Mr Hitchings uses a comma before the word 'and', this is subjective nonsense. I don't know a single Englishman who thinks like this. We regret many aspects of the Empire but feel pride in any number of past English achievements, from Shakespeare to Waterloo to the 1966 World Cup.

Much of Mr Hitchens irrelevance resembles this. Haphazard opinions, quotations from unoriginal people he's met in the pub, fury at the idea of children being told they are important. I could go on but I won't. Just don't expect to find either humour or sophistication - except in the bibliography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly as billed 22 Sep 2013
By PaulieC
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
More of a sedate run through of a collection of mildly interesting stories regarding manners than anything particularly funny/informative. A bit of a disappointment, sadly!
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