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The Xenophobe's Guide to the English (Xenophobe's Guides) Paperback – 18 Apr 2008

33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 92 pages
  • Publisher: Oval Books; Reprint edition (18 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906042292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906042295
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

The character, values and foibles of the English. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Neyla on 15 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Very funny read. When it arrived I thought I would just read the 1st page for now... Ended up reading the entire book the same day. Although its only small, 90'ish pages, its a good funny read. Some things are very true which I found myself relating to (the good and the bad) but lots I didn't agree on. The book looks at the whole idea of the English which very few people are every point that it states (which is why I didn't agree on some stuff).

I think if a non English person did read it, then they shouldn't expect all English to be exactly as it says, but you will understand some of the traits a bit better that you will notice in the English. Like for me, when speaking to my Scandinavian friend and I say sorry, he tells me off for saying it, as to him its not necessary to say it unless you have been/done something very bad, but for me being English its something natural to say even on the simplest of things. Also I get dead annoyed when he doesn't say sorry for the more simple things, which he then gets put in the category the book says (Hopefully when I forward the book to him we might not argue that much over it as he might understand my crazy English ways lol)

In conclusion as the other reviews say, It talks about the cuppa, Cricket, our weird and wonderful traits, how we see the world... etc. Not everything is completely true to all the people (pick n mix) but its a funny read anyway and will make understanding some of the things we do easier. :)
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
Very funny, and surprisingly accurate portrayal of the English and their behaviour. Covering aspects such as our love of the 'nice cup of tea' through to our insistence on always being 'sorry'. Well worth a read.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 May 1999
Format: Paperback
This book, which is part of a whole series of Xenophobes' guides is an enjoyable - if, as is to be expected - it's rather generalised.
The book is amusing, and surprisingly spot-on. Covering areas such as class, making tea, sport, distrust of foreigners, etc this book explains the English very well.
Anyone who wants to understand the English better would do very well to read this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frank Connolly on 2 July 2009
Format: Paperback
An interesting and observant insight.
Easy to read - I've passed my copy on to a German friend - along with the companion volume about the Germans!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wilmington on 6 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book makes for a very entertaining read. Like others in the series, it has to rely on stereotypes, which are usually correct, though some may be more stereotypes that the English have about themselves and that are not really justified. For example, the authors make a big fuss about the English moderation in everything, the constant use of understatements, and people's reluctance to display excessive emotions (the stiff upper lip). Yet, when you compare with other Europeans, the English are the only ones who will regularly inflate compliments like 'your hair looks fantastic' or 'you look absolutely gorgeous today' when they just mean that it's good. Who else but the English would say things like 'I am positively ravenous' or 'it's perfectly all right' ? Is that moderation and reserve in expression ?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arachne202 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very focused around the stereotypes of people in the South of England. Northerners are different in a number of aspects, and need their own Xenophobe's Guide. (Which would be educational both to readers overseas, and those south of Watford!)

Written with a gentle, fumbling Hugh Grant sort of humour, the authors depict their insights into English life. Highlights include: pets are preferred over children, the breakdown of what sort of person you are according to the newspaper you read, the worship of culture particularly in Lloyd Webber musicals based on Beatrix Potter, the abysmal state of all public services, and the national trait of "muddling through" instead of trying to be professional and effective in anything.

Good fun! Please pass the crumpets.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book covers all the obvious characteristics of 'the english' but misses a vital point about identity where many english people consider themselves 'British/Irish first on account of their Irish, Welsh and Scottish ancestry as well as english.This also means that many english people, particularly but not exclusively those who are from regions of England outside of the south have character traits more akin to the Irish/Welsh/Scottish or a mixture of all four countries.

The book briefly mentions regional accents but only in the context of class identification which is a bit out of date, it also misses an opportunity to talk about the rich and diverse dialects of our Isles which are often a source of amusement and bemusement. This diversity also influences traditions around life events which can vary, an example of this is the rituals around funerals where in the north west a family member who has died may be taken to their home in their coffin the night before their funeral where prayers are said and the family can tend to their loved one.

I disagreed with the label of the english being the least family orientated people and the statement in the book seemed to contradict itself with references to caring for elderly relatives which has grown considerably. In addition to this more recent generations of parents seem to be more confident and open about valuing their children which challenges the stereotype of english people not liking their children although I do understand why the authors reached that conclusion at the time of writing.

There are many other books about the British/English and I would recommend Bill Bryson and Dara O'Briain to inform and amuse.
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