A Field Guide to the English – Sarah Lyall

Kate Fox and Jeremy Paxman have both tackled this subject. Fox gets gold, Paxo silver, and Lyall bronze.

Her book has some pleasant enough anecdotes, but she lacks the biting wit of Bryson, and although she likes England well enough, she lacks Bryson’s quirky deep affection for the country and (many of) its people.

Also, she really doesn’t appreciate the pervasiveness of class in English society, and tries to tackle it in a separate chapter, and by doing so fails.

It’s a pleasant enough aeroplane read, but Fox’s book is a lot better.

Of course, The Road to Wigan Pier is the grandaddy of the genre, and is still pertinent, and appears unbeatable.


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