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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very funny guide to social status
The author of this field guide to the Middle Classes new and old has clearly done his research and fashioned an amusing and well structured book. Each chapter deals with an individual 'tribe', usually to great comic effect. At the back is a question and answer flow chart that enables the reader to put themself into a particular 'tribe'. Now I can't promise anything, but...
Published on 26 Dec 2010 by D. Pearce

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Class book lacks class.
This book is quite funny, and quite interesting (though not in a Stephen Fry sort of way). You'll probably quite enjoy it. But then again it doesn't quite acheive what it set out to do.
A small 'humour' book, designed to catch the 'Oh my god, what should I buy them for Christmas?', many people will think buying this for a relative a good idea. On balance, it...
Published on 16 Jan 2011 by Quicksilver


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Class book lacks class., 16 Jan 2011
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is quite funny, and quite interesting (though not in a Stephen Fry sort of way). You'll probably quite enjoy it. But then again it doesn't quite acheive what it set out to do.
A small 'humour' book, designed to catch the 'Oh my god, what should I buy them for Christmas?', many people will think buying this for a relative a good idea. On balance, it probably isn't. (I appreciate that placing this review in January, makes this an untimely observation.)

Separating the middle classes into various tribes, The Clarkson loving 'Damn-Rights' or 'Jamie Oliver's Army, this book seems to judge people using popular culture. This might be a valid thing to do, but that's just about all the book does, making it funny, but only in one-dimension. So whilst I enjoyed the first chapter of the book, the others are pretty much all the same. There was apparently some serious research behind this book, but as that research was by a marketing company, it's hardly surpising it's veneer thin.

Clearly, this is not intended to be a serious analysis of the middle class, but is in essence just a collection of sterotypes; amusing for a while, but ultimately lazy humour. There are many funnier books out there. Expect to catch this book in charity shop near you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very funny guide to social status, 26 Dec 2010
By 
D. Pearce "djarmhp" (rainham, kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The author of this field guide to the Middle Classes new and old has clearly done his research and fashioned an amusing and well structured book. Each chapter deals with an individual 'tribe', usually to great comic effect. At the back is a question and answer flow chart that enables the reader to put themself into a particular 'tribe'. Now I can't promise anything, but it had me perfectly summed up, even to the extent that my name was the one given to the male member of the tribe! If you've got this for Christmas, pick it up and dip into it. Its great fun with more than a few real insights.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very amusing book ideal for the loo!, 23 Dec 2010
By 
Mr. Philip Harkins "If in doubt, Smile! :-)" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
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Incredibly pithy and amusing book, in an ideal size for the smallest room!
Easy to drop into and out of... so too speak.... its insights are funny and very acute with great humour and sarcastic wit combined with an almost sociapathic disection of the things we... or most of us at least... hold dear and these days seem to aspire too.
Recomended and a great small present for a loved one or indeed for the loo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy it with a glass of middle class sherry!, 21 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
This is a great little book, full of observations about life in Britain today. There is a diagram that helps you work out which tribe you are, although annoyingly it's not until p138 - it really should be at the front. Once I worked out which tribe I was, I wanted to do the same for everyone I know, and kept pulling it off the shelf. I think most people fit into one of the types although some of them seem to be a bit of one and a bit of another. I keep finding new things when I go back to it, it's packed with funny details.

I'm giving this to several people for Christmas this year. And then on boxing day I'm looking forward to arguing with them about which tribe they are!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not about the Middle Classes at all - chucklesome nonetheless, 3 Dec 2010
By 
Martin Turner "Martin Turner" (Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This part-comic, part social-commentary, part deconstruction of market segments, 'not actual size' book is subtitled 'an illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes'. Herein lies the reality: this book is not about the middle-classes at all, but, rather, about the aspirational group of people who would like to be middle-class, and perhaps imagine they are. This irony is not lost on the writers. Whether, as a reader, you get this, is rather up to you: if you believe that Victoria Beckham really is 'posh', but Jordan is nonetheless middle-class, then you might find yourself accurately described in the book, but you won't get the ironic subtext.

Whether this book describes you, or your friends, or people you secretly enjoy laughing at (which is why I give this book just 4 stars -- it is ultimately a merciless and uncompassionate book which, ever so condescendingly, manages to sneer at everything it describes), or is just about a different world which you've noticed in passing but never really encountered, it does contain numerous gems of vocabulary which will enhance anyone's conversation. Wikillectuals are people who bone up on Wikipedia to appear knowledgable on topics they know otherwise nothing about. Poorgeois is what the otherwise bourgeois (and possibly gorgeous) buy now that the boom is over and bust has set in. Free-Whelans are a sub-tribe of the Hornby set who look up to Harriet Harman and never quite recovered from being sixties radicals.

Ultimately, this book has a rather serious and slightly sour purpose. Through all of its stereotypes and characterisations -- the Damn-Wrights, The Can-Dos, the Jack Pack, and my favourite White Vain Man, among others -- it serves to point out how the aspirations of the Blair years have been dashed, and those who believed (rightly or wrongly, for you to judge, though the book is fairly clear about where it stands) that they had become Middle-Class by dint of being 'Not Working Class' are now in differing ways facing up to or denying the reality of less money and doing-their-best as an alternative to having ideals. This sourness pervades what might otherwise have been a genial laugh-at-ourselves. In fact, it is exactly the laugh-at-ourselves which is missing from this book. Of all the tribes described, the authors and their ilk are studiously missing. We might call them 'The Too-Clever by Halfs', or, following on from the book's own subversive punning, the 'Two Clever by Halfords'. University graduates who were already middle-class before they became students and are now able to disdainfully look down on all the others... these are missing from this collection.

Perhaps the sourness would have been sweetened if only the authors had also managed to write themselves in.

Then we would all be laughing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bourgeois bible, 9 Nov 2010
By 
The Honest Cynic (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With the rush of jokey coffee table books coming out in time for Christmas I thought the Middle Class Handbook would be a lot shorter with more illustrations and tongue in cheek humour going from the blurb on its back cover.

Reading the information in the last few pages tells you it was in fact written by a group of market research analysts, so everything inside is in fact based on fact, not humorous speculations.

Each section of the book reads like a case study of each different degree of the middle classes, from the Loft Wingers to the White Vain Man, and uses typical examples (and names) of that group's lifestyle choices and daily routines.

The Handbook has managed to pick at every part of the spectrum from those born into middle class and insist leaving out books in view of guests to show off their tastes to the self-made former lower class millionaires who insist on living celebrity lifestyles. Why was no reference to Keeping Up Appearances made in this book?

Some of these studies are laugh out loud hilarious, and the humorous infographics between sections such as what type of Bag for Life each class has - M&S Twiggy or Bloomingdales Brown Bag? - to how each cope with the common cold and how they divide their pizza up double the entertainment.

The difference between this book and the text-light books due to hit bookstore shelves as last minute stocking fillers is this is an intelligent read, and remains relevant to at least what's left of a recession ridden 2010.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Humour Book With a Serious Edge, 7 Nov 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
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I've no dobut that this book will sit on the humour tables of bookshops and with some justification - at its best, this is a witty, fun book. But lurking beneath its frivolous packaging is a more serious book, with many important and inciteful observations.

It's clear that in 2010, being middle class can mean a number of things, and the authors have done a good job of disecting the differents strands in the British bourgeoisie, but they are limited by the format of the book and I couldn't recognise myself in any category, except, perhaps, the last.

This is a "loo book" - and will make a great present at Christmas, but I wouldn't want to sit down and read it cover to cover.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange little book but really rather funny, 6 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
Too aften books like this try too hard, and end up being a bit sneery. Lucklily this book has a down to earth charm, whilst systematically breaking down an entire cross section of people you are likely to meet on any given day - and its hilarious. That said, i actually think the reality is that there are little bits of us in all the tribes, and its slightly simplistic to suggest you can only be one of them. But really, that doesnt matter in the end - as the little insights it kept revealing had me chuckling all weekend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Presented, But Little Substance, 6 Nov 2010
By 
Ben Saunders (Stirling, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wasn't sure what to expect from this but, to be honest, it didn't really deliver on any front.

The book describes various middle class 'tribes' or stereotypes, such as 'Jamie Oliver's Army,' 'White Vain Man,' and 'Chaveau Riches.' In each case a typical couple/family are described, in terms of their likes/dislikes, attitudes towards social media and various celebrities, and so forth. Interspersed throughout are occasional features such as how each tribe goes about dividing the troublesome last slice of pizza or what their favourite bag for life is.

I guess this is supposed to be observational humour but, while I'd concede that it is vaguely observational (even if no one ever perfectly fits the average - the average person has fewer than two legs...), I just didn't find anything that funny. One or two remarks raised a half-smile, but for the most part I simply found it rather inane.

In fairness, at under 150 pocket-sized pages, with lots of pictures, the book is a quick and easy read. It's also quite nicely presented, in a smart hardback format, that would make a nice-looking gift. Sadly though I think it's style over substance and I'm rather glad I didn't have to waste any more of my time reading it as I don't think I profited from it at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 10 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Middle Class Handbook: An illustrated field guide to the behaviour and tastes of Britain's new middle-class tribes (Hardcover)
I found myself in the book and was surprised how accurate it was. Also found some of my friends. Have gone back and read several chapters again. Really good read.
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