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Watching the English: The International Bestseller Revised and Updated Hardcover – 24 Apr 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; Revised edition edition (24 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144478739X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444787399
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.9 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Kate Fox's brilliant idea is to treat the British as another tribe...where she's particularly astute is in examining the exact pattern of clichés. Any study of the English must cover our class obsession, and Fox deals with the subject thoroughly. (Harry Mount, author of How England Made the English)

An absolutely brilliant examination of English culture. (Jennifer Saunders The Times)

Her observations are acute . . . she doesn't write like an anthropologist but like an English woman - with amusement, not solemnity, able to laugh at herself as well as us. (Daily Mail)

Brilliant and hilarious (Grayson Perry The Vanity of Small Differences)

She is the only popular UK anthropologist of substance since the 1970s. (Jeremy MacClancy Professor of Anthropology, Oxford Brookes University)

This is an entertaining, clever book. Do read it and then pass it on. (Daily Telegraph)

She is smart . . . raises some serious issues . . . poses a challenge to British social anthropology that we need to meet . . . This book should enter into professional discussions of the future of anthropology . . . Fox has astutely lined herself up to take a leading position in a rethink of the discipline's object, theory and method. (Professor Keith Hart Anthropology Today)

I read it cover to cover in a few days . . . very sharp and witty prose. It really is funny - the sort of humour that makes you laugh out loud on your own! (Martin Parr Vice)

Hilarious and insightful (Daniel Miller Professor of Material Culture, University College London)

She has not only compiled a comprehensive list of English qualities, she has examined them in depth . . . A delightful read. (Sunday Times)

Watching the English is full of anthropological insights, sometimes acquired unconventionally, and always presented hilariously. It's a fun and provocative read, and does a beautiful job of showing how anthropologists learn about the world. (Jessaca B. Leinaweaver Associate Professor of Anthropology, Brown University)

Watching the English . . . will make you laugh out loud ("Oh God. I do that!") and cringe simultaneously ("Oh God. I do that as well."). This is a hilarious book which just shows us for what we are . . . beautifully-observed. It is a wonderful read for both the English and those who look at us and wonder why we do what we do. Now they'll know. (Birmingham Post)

A brilliant and witty account of the underlying logic of English culture, which illuminates many of the main concepts of sociocultural anthropology - making it a perfect introductory text to the discipline. It is consistently the most popular text I teach, not only because it's a hilarious page-turner but also because Fox offers truly insightful glimpses into what a sophisticated anthropological mindset can reveal about human cultural life . . . Watching the English embodies the anthropological credo of making the strange familiar and the familiar strage. (Bianca Dahl Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto)

She's a witty and eloquent writer whose accessible book reads as a scholarly classification of our shared codes of behaviour and an affectionate homage to our foibles. (Metro)

The book captivates at the first page. It's fun. It's also embarrassing. "Yes . . . yes," the reader will constantly exclaim. "I'm always doing that"'. (Manchester Evening News)

Watching the English is great for a laugh. But even better, it is a fantastic lesson in deciphering culture - not just of the English, but anyone's. I highly recommend it for both your own personal amusement and as a tool to reflect upon the world we live in. (Dr Erin B. Taylor Research Fellow, Instituto de Ciências Sociaias, University of Lisbon)

Fascinating reading. (Oxford Times)

There's a qualitative difference in the results, the telling detail that adds real weight. Fox brings enough wit and insight to her portrayal of the tribe to raise many a smile of recognition. She has a talent for observation, bringing a sharp and humorous eye and ear to everyday conventions, from the choreography of the English queue to the curious etiquette of weather talk. (The Tablet)

It's a fascinating and insightful book, but what really sets it apart is the informal style aimed squarely at the intelligent layman. (City Life, Manchester)

Fascinating . . . Every aspect of English conversation and behaviour is put under the microscope. Watching the English is a thorough study which is interesting and amusing. (Western Daily Press)

Enjoyable good fun, with underlying seriousness - a book to dip into at random and relish for its many acute observations. (Leicester Mercury)

Amusing . . . entertaining (The Times)

Fascinating . . . excellent (Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves)

Both hilarious and wincingly accurate in its portrayal of English society (What's on in London)

Book Description

Kate Fox reveals the hidden rules of English behavior in this completely revised and updated edition of the international bestseller.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of the observations about "the English" have had me laughing out loud. These are instantly recognisable by "us" but must be terribly confusing and difficult for anyone else to comprehend, let alone learn
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Format: Paperback
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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