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Welcome to Everytown Hardcover – 5 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862079218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862079212
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 22.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julian Baggini's books include The Ego Trick, Welcome to Everytown, What's It All About? - Philosophy and the Meaning of Life and The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, all published by Granta Books. He writes for several newspapers and magazines and is co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine.

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Review

"Baggini observes Rotherham closely and wittily" -- The Herald

"Baggini turns out to be a sensitive observer who takes people and
places on their own terms" -- Independent

"Fascinating localised detail of the lives of ordinary British
people... sophisticated, open-minded analysis"
-- Psychologies Magazine

"Few set out to ask the ordinary English what they think. Baggini
brings a refreshing empathy"
-- Financial Times

"Intelligent and resourceful... (with) many fascinating
observations" -- Book Magazine

About the Author

Julian Baggini is the editor and co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. His books include Do You Think What You Think YouThink? (with Jeremy Stangroom), What's It All About? - Philosophy and the Meaning of Life and the bestselling The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, all published by Granta Books.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Horner on 15 Dec 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having family originate from the same postal area as everytown (and one member live on the same road 'Flash Lane'), I bought the book with interest if not slight reluctance - half expecting some patronising exposition on working class life. However, I found every page was a genuine delight. Informative, interesting, witty and accurate. Sure, it is from the 'outsider' perspective, but what else did you expect? Baggini to effect a 'Rovram' accent and attempt to be a cross between Sean Bean and Wittgenstein?

The reivews of the book surprised me - flawed by straw men and ad hominems. As one who has also 'escaped' the area through university, I found this book gave me a fresh perspective on how dangerous it is to criticise mass culture - the section on the Da Vinci Code says more about middle class snobbery than you would expect. Buy this and enjoy.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By G. G. Durante on 2 Dec 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to this book which put itself forward as a study of the philosophy of life of the typical Englishman, his fears, his aspirations and his ethical beliefs; all of this garnered from a 6-month stay in England's most average postcode. Unfortunately, amusing as it is in parts, it never really lives up to its set ambition. What is worse, there are parts that read just like an exploration of the mythical North/South divide.

Some problems are evident from the beginning. Baggini focuses on an aspect of English life and then, with the admittedly dubious aid of opinion polls, the tabloid press and conversations with locals in the boozer, constructs a set of extremely general truths about English society and the practices of the common man. What are often presented as original insights into the English mind are, I'm afraid, platitudes which apply to almost any modern nation in the Western world. For example, with much fanfare and preparation, we are told that we are obsessed by status, tolerant but wary of other cultures and prefer familiarity and convenience to that which is alien or challenging. There is nothing distinctly English about this.

One reason why the results of Baggini's investigations are disappointing may lie within the author himself. He comes across as extremely ingenuous, a sort of Hugh Grant of the writing world, jumping into everyday pursuits with a sort of trepidation which can only come from living a very withdrawn life. He is shocked by cinema food / snack prices and openly admits he has never betted before.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JJA Kiefte on 24 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, Biaggini is a bit of a snob, but his observations are quite sound and make a lot of sense. Living in Holland, close to the German border, I can also ensure that his observations are true of those western European countries as well. I am convinced that it takes someone with a detached view to notice the characteristics and peculiarities of other social groups and ultimately Biaggini proves to be sympathetic towards his working class friends from S66. I can't understand all those reviewers who say this is a better or worse book than Paxman's and/or Fox's. I find the three books to be complementary and as such they broaden ones understanding of the mindset of the English (and, for a large part, Western Europeans, because we ultimately have more in common perhaps than most people would be comfortable with admitting).
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Format: Hardcover
As a Londoner, I could understand what Baggini was talking about. Metropolitan cities only impose on us social behaviors that are not really how we would go about business if we were not living under the pressures of London or Manchester of "being cool" or liking "alternative art". We would just do what makes us feel comfortable, which what the majority of the English do: Eat, drink, work and holiday.
Whether he succeeded in portraying the English as they really are, is something completely left up to the reader, and his own experience and perception of the English. He concludes his book with a statement that the English don't fully know themselves and what makes them English, and he is to an extent, right. The English as a people, are very practical people by nature. His statement that the English perceive food as fuel rather than joy, is , in English bravado "spot on". Be it London, Brighton or Everytown, if you are a gourmet, you don't go to a pub, or a fish and chips place, and that remains the case today. The number of pubs throughout the country by far outnumber any restaurants that serve anything other than "pub grub" style, and the pub is where you will find the Englishman, or any other person living in Enlgand for that case. So that must be the way the people prefer it. So his view on the English and the drink is also in its place.

He starts out his journey in Everytown, which is, according to statistics, the most "English" place in England, where the majority of people in everytown do what the majority of English citizens do: consume, drink, watch blockbusters and are set in their own ways.
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