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Baiting the English
on 30 June 2014
In the introduction of this book, Gill does make the point that he will not be providing any 'forensic evidence' or proof for any of the assertions he makes about the English, but rather that he just knows 'these things to be true' (written with pen firmly stuck in cheek!). So, if you can read this book with that comment in mind you will find it an enjoyable read.
He does use some rather broad-brush stereotypes to describe a trait that he has identified about the English, but there are some fairly accurate descriptions that pained this particular reader. Do I really just like gardening because it's the only place I can find to bury my prejudice and snobbery and does poisoning green (weeds) and feeding green (flowers) prove a deep-seated yearning for Fascist orderliness? Do I drink to unlock the cellar door to my dark side?
As has been said in other reviews, it really is worth buying this book just for the chapters on War memorials (you will never look at the Cenotaph again without thinking about his comments) and Political correctness (which he makes a very impressive defence of). In addition, his description of antique shops in the Cotswolds and the Englishman who took on the Germans at the cable car queue is very funny.
Gill is always surprising in his views and his writing style can be mildly irritating, but there is also humour in here as well as some very insightful comments about the current state of Englishness and for that I would recommend this book.