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4.4 out of 5 stars56
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 1 July 2014
The quibbles first.
The book, at over 500 pages, is too long and runs out of steam in the final chapters.
The style, while engaging and accessible, can sometimes become indulgent and over folksy. Sentences like "it's my book, so I can write what I want" grate.
Her minute dissection of the intricacies of the English class system are extremely funny, precisely observed but become exhausting after a while.
However, as a voyage through the essentials of Englishness, this is a tour de force which I would challenge any English person to read without experiencing many moments of disarming self-awareness. Kate Fox does not sugar the pill in her presentation of the repressed and emotionally constipated race that we have become. Some of her set pieces (how we say goodbye at the end of dinner parties, pub etiquette, our obsession with gardens, etc) are wonderful and illuminating. How the book reads to foreigners would be difficult to judge - I imagine those closely familiar with England would find it chimes loudly, while those who are not would probably not believe how strange we are. To an English person, however, this is as close to a definitive guide to the emotional make-up of the English mentality in the 21st century as you are likely to find and, as such, despite a few reservations, a triumph.
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on 18 June 2014
I loved the original version of this book and recommended it to lots of people, this is the "ten years after" developed version. Equally good, with a giggle and a squirm of recognition on every page; Ms Fox artfully teases out the underlying essential truths of being English and lays them before us with wit and a devastating candour.
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on 22 January 2015
Wonderful book which makes a great gift to any American friends you might have . Superbly researched and spot on observations of our middle class eccentricities . I have loaned this out to numerous friends who all loved it . A great read if you want to absolutely get under the skin of us Brits ! Arrived on time well packaged .
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on 16 July 2015
Fantastic book, really entertaining even if you are English. This book confirmed much of what I knew, but in true Englishness no one would ever talk about. Growing up in England but having parents from a different (positive politeness) cultural was always so confusing. This book should be on the national curriculum.
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on 23 May 2016
The not so good: Too long and too much repetition. The summary at the end of each chapter is not needed unless one is just browsing the book carelessly.

The good: As an Englishman I can definitely see myself described however I'd have liked to see a better contrast between the South and North especially in regard to class (clarss for you Southern pansies) - Oops, there goes my reserve because I'm writing this on-line and not looking you squarely in the shoes.
Class is all pervading but it's not uniformly cut across, there was little analysis of the influence of education and life experience on behaviour.

Worth the money and a good read if you have the time, say in hospital or stuck in an airport.
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on 23 March 2015
This book is very well written. Studying psychology and communication studies means I am naturally a people watcher and now has allowed me to appreciate the content even more, picking up on these perculiar 'English' traits.
You can guarantee that something in the book will apply to you in some way! I would definitely recommend this to anyone either new to England or those interested in what makes people tick!
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on 16 March 2015
A must for any American moving/living in the UK. A great read!
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on 27 June 2015
Very entertainingly written - I read this with a smile on my face. A serious study but well written with a wry and beady eye for the foibles of this nation.
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on 4 May 2016
Sorry, but you learn some fascinating facts and there are some stark 'in the spotlight' moments when you recognise how and why all we English do what we do (such as constantly apologising, do you mind if, would it be a problem, don't want to be a nuisance, but...). A useful mirror in which to gaze, albeit a little dense and repetitive at times as the author reviews and summarises as she goes along. Have definitely been citing it to friends and (non-English) family though. Interesting.
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on 4 March 2016
I teach advanced English to foreign adults. If I had to have just one sourcebook this would be it. It is not only authoratative and informative it's a model text demonstrating English at its best, in action. It's a mine of information about what people say and why. You hear it all the time in the street, at home and in the pub. Here they are, the words laid out before us on the table for our inspection, instruction and entertainment.
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