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12 Reviews
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Misapprehension
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...
Published 17 months ago by charlie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly as billed
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!
Published 9 months ago by PaulieC


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Misapprehension, 26 Jan 2013
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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
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 - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sorry!: The English and Their Manners (Paperback)
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
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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
This review is from: Sorry!: The English and Their Manners (Paperback)
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
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, funny, 25 Oct 2013
By 
J. C. Longton (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Not a book that you read cover to cover in one sitting. But one that you enjoy a chapter or two at a time, full of interesting ideas and facts. A good book to keep and keep dipping back into.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History of How To Behave, 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Sorry!: The English and Their Manners (Paperback)
A readable historical account of manners and "correct behaviour" over a long time.
Informative and educational but not a manual for "correct/polite" behaviour now.
"Manners" are changing all the time, particularly at the present time, and this book exposes the absurdity of small minded priggish people trying to impose their ideas of "good manners" on others.
E, Housley,
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what it says on the cover, 23 Sep 2013
This review is from: Sorry!: The English and Their Manners (Paperback)
This is simply not the book that the cover claims. I have somehow stumbled through about three-quarters of it, and find the style ponderous, with just too many words, and the wit cumbersome. More than that, though, far too much of it is a historical summary. If I'd wanted one, I would have bought a book called "A history of the English and their manners". I've just read a chapter about American manners; I didn't ask for that. And another about netiquette, which could apply to users of the Internet from any country. I have decided to abandon the book and view the money spent as money wasted.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars some brilliant bits, 13 May 2013
By 
C. F. Hankinson (Leeds , England UK) - See all my reviews
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and some a bit ordinary
(I hate this bossy demand by Amazon
that I write more words. enough is enough - it is still wanting more - NO)
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Sorry!: The English and Their Manners
Sorry!: The English and Their Manners by Henry Hitchings (Paperback - 4 July 2013)
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