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Paperback The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British Book

ISBN: 0393334767

ISBN13: 9780393334760

The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Sarah Lyall moved to London in the mid-1990s and soon became known for amusing and sharp dispatches on her adopted country. Confronted by the eccentricities of these island people (the English husband who never turned on the lights, the legislators who behaved like drunken frat boys, the hedgehog lovers), she set about trying to figure out the British. Part anthropological field study and part memoir, The Anglo Files has already received great acclaim...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

So accurate, it's amazing

For anyone who has lived in Britain, spent a considerable amount of time in Britain, or is simply an Anglophile, this book is a MUST. By turns hilarious, sobering, and shocking, Lyall has captured the British perfectly. I loved this book, and recommend it highly.

Brilliant, interesting, funny

Very well written indeed. I expected this to be Britain 101 (which it is) but it digs deeper and is more nuanced than that -- somewhere in the 300's or 400's course levels on what we used to call the Mother Country. Very well-written too, though the author could start including the footnoted material into her text so it would read more smoothly. Comprehensive and detailed without being plodding or ponderous. (I have dual citizenship with one English and one American parent, spent a lot of time in the UK growing up and have lived and worked there). Nice prose style; very enjoyable read. If you like it, you should also buy Stand Before Your God which is a bit darker and more personal but equally fascinating. Buy and read Ms. Lyall's book.

Spot on!

For anyone who has ever spent an appreciable amount of time in England, as I have, Sarah Lyall's new book, "The Anglo Files" is as close to a perfect look as "one" (Br.) can get from an American perspective. An expatriate for more than a dozen years, Lyall has learned to cope and allowed herself to be educated, all the while shaking her head at how the British live their lives. It's the stuff of a good book. Each chapter in "The Anglo Files" presents a different topic to be reviewed. Whether it be English men (and their alcohol consumption) cricket, cuisine, the weather or just plain British eccentricity, Lyall covers it all with a sharp wit of observation. My favorite few pages involve her description of the House of Lords. It's hysterical, giving rise to the New Yorker magazine's occasional squib, "There will always be an England". While much of the book is a gentle poke at British culture and language, the author gets into the psyche of her host country and is dutifully repectful of the way the British "rally 'round"...whether it be in war, or more recently, the death of Princess Diana. Saving this bit until near the end, Lyall reaches a poignant moment and it's one of her best in the book. I highly recommend "The Anglo Files". The narrative is crisp, funny, and I must say, accurate!

Spot On

Great read for anyone who doesn't understand British sensibility. I loved it. I lived in Greater London in the 90's and had the luck of sending my two kids to different schools, a state school and a public school. If only I had had this book before I went I could have saved myself a bit of grief, but then would have missed out on my best laughs. I love every thing about the UK and its people. Lyall shared the best bits and brought back so many lovely memories I think I need to go book a trip back. Expensive beyond belief but beans on toast is always on the menu.

A spot on view of British culture

As an ardent Anglophile, I had to have this book. In many ways Sarah covers the same territory as Bill Bryson with the same bemused American perspective. Each chapter covers a different aspect of British culture and combines personal anecdotes with wider factual information. The book is extensively footnoted along with a lengthy section of suggested further reading. If so far this leaves you yawning, let me also say that this was one of my most enjoyable reads of the year. I read it while on vacation and my family frequently commented "you really like that book" as I giggled my way through. To give you a flavor of the book, here is a quote from the chapter entitled Lawmakers from Another Planet. "If sometimes the debate had the tenor of a late-night conversation in a college dormitory during that precious window of time after the pot has been smoked but before the pizza has arrived-well,that was the Lords' perogative." Thank you Sarah for such a fresh take on such a well worn topic.
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