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on 16 June 2016
Stephanie Faul lives in Washington DC (according to the biog), and her perspective is very much someone of that environment, with the best bits of the book being about politics, law and business. It's very privileged white-collar sort of humour, told in a light and breezy manner - nothing wrong with that, but when my husband was working in the USA, what jumped out for him was how close to the breadline most of the people he met were. That is completely missing from this book, along with anything blue-collar or connected with ordinary people in general. Too inconvenient to be acknowledged. Maybe it's because in American culture, losers don't count.

Taking the book for what it is, it is a fun read. Ms Faul gives a lavish description of what goes into a Thanksgiving dinner (what on earth is jellied salad and Indian pudding?), details how people check out their host's medicine cupboards, has lots of fun with mad lawsuits, and laments the American worship of sport, celebrity, shopping and philistinism in general. And reinforces again and again that to an American, everything is a competition, and everybody has to play to win. Yes, I know from personal experience, and it's exhausting!

Regional differences are completely ignored, which is surprising for a country that covers five time zones. I will read "Xenophobe's Guide To The Californians", and if the publishers could put out some more regional guides for the States - so we've got a better idea of who is on the other end of the phone in the middle of the night - that would be greatly appreciated.
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on 13 October 2012
Being more than familiar with American culture through Hollywood movies and series, and a few trips to the States, I already knew everything in this book, but that didn't prevent it from being entertaining. This condensed review of American culture contains all the important things one should know to understand the country and its people.
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on 20 July 2016
Based on stereotypes mostly, not really reflecting the real America. Overall is true but without details only scratches the regional differences and totally ignores how important family is for most Americans.
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on 13 September 2015
Hysterically funny and accurate. My wife spent some time in the U.S. and said that it had them down to a 'T'. I don't think the Americans will be impressed!
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on 30 March 2016
Perfect "tongue in cheek" review of national stereotypes with just a wee hint of truth included, Fun read!
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on 11 November 2013
This is an amusing series of books and effectively punctures the balloon of regional idiosyncrasies. Perhaps these guides may help us become a more tolerant world through the Kindle versions.
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on 18 May 2016
really good
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on 3 January 2015
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on 23 April 2014
<b> Xenophobe's Guide To The Americans </b> Stephanie Faulk<br/><br/>2.5 ish stars...<br/><br/>This was recommended to me on my hunt for the X... I was told it was funny. I didn't think it was as funny as it could have been. But for those of you attempting the Title alphabet there are a whole bunch of these.<br/><br/>It wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. I am a big fan of America. I have had some amazing times there and would happily sell a kidney or marry a weirdo for a green card...I have read articles in this vein, about both England and The States and laughed my backside off while reading. I was expecting the same sort of thing from this book, but this was a bit too cautions perhaps? I don't think this author got off the fence enough, possibly because if you're going to write this kind of thing, holding back is not the way to go and maybe it needs to be written by a stranger in a strange land...<br/><br/> I'm aware of the differences and I'm not above joking about the stereotypes with my friendly Americans ( or French /Africa/ German/ Finnish / Italians) about the foibles and differences between the nations, much as they are not above mocking us Brits. But this book just came across as incredibly bitchy, rather than affectionate teasing.<br/><br/> So - I was expecting something along the lines of that :) Instead I got a bunch of slightly spiteful personal observations...<br/><br/>According to this author... Americans don't 'get' banter (Some of the best banter I ever experienced was with the yanks lol). And they don't read books without pictures...And are fundamentally stupid... And obsessed with money. And have no class...And fail to understand Canada / Mexico are different countries...It started to annoy me somewhat by this point...<br/><br/>Unfortunately, This came across as too snidey in some of ways and that really made this lose a star, it gained half a star back however, as it did give some dummies explanations of confusing matters such as how / why Congress is elected and the purpose of the senate, or whatever way it goes round lol. <br/><br/>The only true LOL moment for me was the guy who sued a golf course because his own golf ball hit in the face...The most interesting thing in it was that after the whole Watergate thing Mr. Nixon became some kind of respected statesman due to his relations with China? and a Mayor who was elected while in jail...<br/><br/>I have no doubt there are better X books for your list. I <i> KNOW </i> there are better articles on this subject...
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on 2 December 2001
An excellent level one primer on the American psyche. I got this book hoping for a laugh on us and to get an objective opinion on my fellow countrymen for an article I'm writing. It was too true to be funny. ;-) Not insulting, just plain true. I only found one or two mistakes and they were minor, dealing with slang that could be different in different regions of the States. There were a couple of parts that made me wonder, "You mean it's not like that all over the world?" (For example, the part about how every event in American life is structured so that someone wins and someone loses.)
For such a small book, it does just what it sets out to do, cover the surface. Worth the £.
For a more in-depth and very funny primer on Americans and the American psyche, I highly recommend Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Big Country" (US title: "I'm Just a Stranger Here Myself").
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