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How to Be a Brit by George Mikes

How to Be a Brit

by George Mikes

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I remember around forty years ago hearing Wilfred Massiah, my English teacher at school, eulogising this book, or at least one of the component sections, [How to be an Alien], citing it as one of the funniest observations of the British that had ever been written. I had then, and retain now, a huge regard for Mr Massiah, and owe him a huge debt for pointing me towards any number of great writers, and regret never having found the opportunity to tell him so. In this instance, however, I fear his normally reliable judgement had completely failed him.

Back in the 1970s, when he was recommending this book to me, it was already some thirty or so years old, and it is now more than seventy years since it was first published, so it is reasonable to expect that literary tastes have changed considerably. I still fail, however, to understand why it proved so popular (and in publishing terms it was a huge success, selling hundreds of thousands of copies over the decades). I found it laboured, trite, utterly banal and comprehensively unfunny. It didn't even merit the dismissive judgement of, 'I laughed until I stopped'. Laugh? I never even started ( )
  Eyejaybee | Dec 30, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140081798, Paperback)

George Mikes has written many successful books on a variety of interesting subjects, but one so successful as those on the subject most central to his own experience: his adopted country. The first of these came out in 1946: the ever famous "How to be an Alien". Later he enlarges the picture with "How to be Inimitable" and "How to be Decadent". All three books were illustrated by the master of the cartoonists' art, the late Nicolas Bentley. Here they are, all in one volume, which will make life much easier for today's would-be Brits than it was for those who pervaded them. It is said that a few of the latter actually failed to become indistinguishable from the genuine British article because they found it too tiresome to seek out three separate books: a misfortune that need never again occur to anyone.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:46 -0400)

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