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on 20 August 2014
Very witty, very funny.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really wanted to like this book and to give it five stars - I love dip-in books that can be picked up and chuckled over again and again. Some of Iain Aitch's observations on the essential nature of Britishness are spot-on,("Other popular imperial measurements are the double-decker bus and the size of Wales") but others have a faint whiff of bigotry mixed with the satire that I found a little unsettling.
The book describes itself as "The Real Citizenship Test," I had toyed with the idea of passing the book on to some Polish friends as a joke, but thought ... no,in its heavy use of irony, it's TOO British.

The book cross-references itself throughout, with the entry for Pot Noodle neatly linking to the Corner Shop for example. This could prove an interesting way of reading the book rather than the A-Z format- it would have been possible to have created more original categories, perhaps. However, the book does have a good index, though with a plethora of bogus facts inserted for joke purposes, would one really want to use this as a reference book?

I suspect that the male members of any household this book finds itself in will quietly spirit it away to the smallest room to take its place alongside the QI series, and others of that ilk. It should live quite happily there.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ok so this book is a wry look at Britishness with a great sense of humour and what I describe as a different slant, very very british but not the usual sense of humor that you tend to find in these sorts of books but a very entertaining diversion from the reality for a short while. This book is well worth a read and anyone who has a sense of humour should enjoy it, I especially enjoyed the section explaining that there are only certain acceptable toppings allowed with chips.....I'm not telling you, you'll have to read it yourself. LOL
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VINE VOICEon 28 August 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Yes, I'm growing tired of these endless "A-Z" style books too, whether they be about sh** things, brilliant things, foreign things, funny things, sad things, things to do, things not to do and now, an A-Z of typically British hilarities.

For typically read stereotypically.

I approached this book with an open mind however and now, after completing it, a few wry smiles and a lot of ywans down the line, I honestly wonder how long it'll be before we see a book entitled "An A-Z Of Is It Just Me Or Is Everything An A-Z" or some other self-referential compilation of pungently observed witticisms from what surely must be an army of ghost writers creating these mostly lightweight tomes of little mirth or worth.

Sure this book made me smile a few times as I said, particularly the frequent referrals to celebrity whingers, and their utmost desire to leave the country at the drop of a hat, and the sections in the book, (organised as you'd expect an a to z to be, in four paragraph or so sections for each aspect of Britishness) on Vesta and Pot Noodle meals - once my sole digestive satisfier.

But for every moment I'd smile, there'd be a section of the book I'd find dull, like the poor attempt at making cricket seem funny, which fails even though the author takes a sarcastic viewpoint of the "sport", and things like puddings, and class, and beefeaters, and bulldogs and probably every other dull and stereotypical "British" thing you can think of that it's pretty impossible to be funny, edgy, irreverent or witty about. The author definitely tries his best though, and the paragraphs are certainly cleverly written and the book as a whole is well structured.

Ultimately though, where it sets out to be irreverant, slyly funny and interesting, it succeeds merely in being like every other A-Z thing we've had out in the last two years. Sure there are funny and interesting bits, but they're outweighed by enough topics to make me not really enjoy the A-Z as a whole. Some may and will love it and find it Proustian in it's wit. Most, I regret, will probably smirk then put it down.

File under D for Dull Books.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm not really sure who would buy this apart from someone giving it as an Xmas present.
It's touted as being hilarious but I didn't smile let alone laugh. I hate to damn with faint praise, but its quite successful if read as a perfectly serious and well researched description of the British way of life, from Allotments through Greasy Spoons to X Factor. It certainly encapsulates the national character - but don't expect to be amused a la Bill Bryson. Let's face it, some of it makes depressing reading.
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VINE VOICEon 1 October 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Publishers are always looking around eagerly for the next big similar christmas bestseller for men. This book had the potential to be it. It could have been funny, thought provoking, nostalgic and comfortingly nationalistic. Had it achieved all those things it would have been an instant, indispensable classic. Had it achieved any one of those things it would have been a good stocking filler for a male relative in his 30s or older. Unfortunately, it reads like it's torn between being funny, accurate and profound, and it ends up being a tiny bit of each. The sum of these tiny bits are less than a whole and are nowhere near enough to keep the reader's interest for more than a few pages at a time.

The style of writing is also a little tedious. It could have been written by any one of the vast number of mediocre stand up comedians that all seem to copy each other's style of delivery or by any of the equally vast number of second rate newspaper columnists who wish they were as funny/controversial as Jeremy Clarkson

If you were really stuck for a christmas present you could probably do worse. A reader could dip into this book in really idle moments. He might find out some historical fact that he didn't know, or something that makes him smile or makes him think, but it is overall a bit of a disappointment
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a really good light read. It is full are interesting little bits of information about what it may mean to be British. The book is not really funny, perhaps it is meant to be. But I have enjoyed it, not as a serious read but when just have a few minutes. I am sure many will treasuer this book.
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on 27 August 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"We're British, Innit" is a book that the author, or publishers, cites as `the real Citizenship test'. And they are not wrong as it certainly does cover a wide range of issues and quirky habits that those who do not know us Brits well as a nation may well need to be filled in on to get a basic understanding of what we are all about.

This is a book that is quite similar to a number around at the moment, and in recent years, but focuses purely on subjects that are quintessentially British. It goes from the old fashioned Queen Victoria, crumpets, red telephone boxes and beefeaters, to the more modern page 3, dogging, Argos and Pot Noodles.

With little sections on virtually everything we now see as British, including of course the typical fish and chips, queuing and the weather, this is something that any Brit may find amusing. My problem though was that it did little more than raise a smile. When I got this book I was hoping for something that would thoroughly amuse and have me laughing out loud, but this was sadly not the case.

Whilst a good book, and something I would certainly think about giving as a gift or stocking filler at Christmas, if you are looking for pure comedic talent then you are probably better searching for it elsewhere. I do like the book though, and would look at it I wanted to make a little harmless fun of Great Britain, feel a little nostalgia at our little quirks, or just wanted to share an anecdote with friends.

Another small criticism of this is that it is not family reading as is not suitable for children; this is because it has some sections on swear words, or things of a mildly sexual nature. The book does not claim to be suitable for a younger audience, but I felt that it was right to point this fact out for those who were wondering. But for an adult audience it is fine and could provide a little amusement from time to time.

It has the right intentions behind it, and does the job it hopes to do, but is not really something I would pick up whenever I needed a good laugh. Excellent to dip in and out of, and maybe to share a little of with friends, this is something that is good for when you have that extra bit of time on your hands or want something to have a look at over a cup of tea (after all, we are British...).
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 10 September 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an A-Z format book which makes it ideal to have by the bed and dip in or out of. It gave me a few smiles but no belly laughs and doesn't take itself too seriously. In fact, if you feel the author has missed anything out, you can email him and he will include the best five in the paperback edition, which made me pay even more attention to the book.

Its certainly contemporary, containing amusing class conscious descriptions of how the posh love Harrods, the middle class love Habitat and for the rest, there is Argos! Its interesting to read about how a simple fried breakfast varies around the country from the basic bacon and eggs to the black pudding, square sausage slice and soda farls you have in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Although being Welsh, I can't say I have ever had laver bread with my bacon! I also found it a bit too flippant in places but I realise that's the general tone of the book, after all- its not a volume of history, although there is some history in it.

Overall, its a very affectionate book and it doesn't do any harm to count your blessings and think what a lovely, odd, unique sort of country we live in. A great gift book for ex pats or overseas relatives or anyone who loves Britain.
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on 18 September 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Aitchs take on modern day Britain is highly amusing. His A-Z review of British culture cannot fail to put a smile on your face. He reviews every aspect and each individual review put a smile on my face. I really enjoyed this book and keep picking it up and re-reading different pages finding them more and more amusing each time. A must for anyone who wants a humourous look at modern Britain.
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