Why are many supposedly egalitarian Americans fascinated by the aristocratic privilege of Britain as displayed by Downton Abbey and the royal family? In this illuminating essay, cultural critic Mark Dery explores the attractions that Britain's literature, music, and style present for Americans. From a childhood fascination with the Wonder Books to an adolescent fixation on Jethro Tull and adulthood admiration for Christopher Hitchens, Dery’s take is highly personal, yet also displays larger societal insight. By turns savage and sympathetic, his prose is also wryly funny. Performer Mark Ashby does a good job capturing Dery's tone, and alternating between the British and American accents of the text.
Downton Abbey has brought out the Anglophile in American fans of the hit TV series. But Anglophilia has a long history in America. Why are some native-born residents of our Shining City Upon a Hill, where All Men Are Created Equal, seduced by the fluting tones of manor-born privilege? At last, Anglophilia explained - in American, thank you.
©2013 Mark Dery (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
There were enough positive Amazon reviews to overcome my skepticism from the negative reviews, and after all, it was free and less than an hour long. How much of a gamble could it be? More than you'd think.
I found this essay incoherently scattered, heavily dependent on comments from other authors, but failing to state a distinct thesis to build an argument on. The result was a failure to explain American Anglophilia, and what came across to me a general contempt of American fans of Masterpiece and BBC America. Not the fun I had hoped it would be.
I guess people who think Anglophiles are snobbish, social climbing jerks might enjoy this book. Thankfully it was only 48 minutes long so I listened to the end. Certainly not what I expected.
If you love being an Anglophile then you can give this title a miss.
Maybe addressing reasons Americans find England and royalty interesting rather than just ramble about a Wonder Book the author read as a youth. Also, it became obvious the author disdains anyone who does have an interest in England and its history. I believe the author sought to impress his readership with his vocabulary and his "better than you" attitude rather than provide anything positive.
No way! He comes across as a pompous academic. I can't imagine him producing anything enlightening or entertaining after this short disaster.
Given the material, I think the narrator did about as well as possible.
Anger, definitely! We thought we would hear a lighthearted look as what makes Americans love the royals and England but it was just a slam to both England and to those who love it.
The book started out with a little bit of humor and we actually laughed out loud but the book steadily became irritating. We didn't finish it because it just wasn't worth putting up with the author's attitude. If we could give zero stars, that would have been the score.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
Well that was a ho-hum 38 minutes of my life. The promise of our love of Downton Abbey explored just didn't happen and in the end, it was a lot of rambling about nothing. Watch Downton, love the Queen and ignore the book.
The author of this piece did not make it clear what the work is supposed to be. Was it a parody of scholastic works? If so, it missed the mark completely. Was it actually supposed to be an analysis of American-based Anglophilia? If so, it missed the mark completely. Quite frankly, it was a thinly-veiled excuse to insult anyone that doesn't fit the author's narrow view of a "proper" Anglophile.
Mr. Dery could have made it better by simply getting off his high horse and actually addressing the subject. This would have preferably been done without continually insulting people who enjoy shows like Downton Abbey, or people who enjoy Renaissance Festivals, or people who enjoy the pomp and ceremony of events like royal weddings, or any number of other sub-groups of Americans. Oh, and actually including a clearly stated thesis and supporting it would be nice too.
Mr. Ashby did the best job that he could with such drivel.
If I were the editor, it would not have made it to publication at all.
I was hoping that this would be a serious look at the phenomena of Anglophilia in the United States. I think that there is a lot to address on that subject, and it would be a fascinating study of how the history of the United States and its varying relationships with the United Kingdom have come influenced the modern American mind to create this pervasive fascination with both the reality and the perceived reality of the U.K.
Unfortunately, all that this ended up being was a rather incoherent and unorganized ramble through one man's memories of childhood punctuated with repeated barbs aimed at entire cross-sections of the population ranging from the far Right to the far Left. The end result being a wasted hour and the unsubstantiated inflation of ego for the author.
This was definitely an opportunity that was wasted by the author. It is a shame.
I am very glad this was free. I am not even sure I would have been happy paying 0.99. I love England. I am what they call an America Anglophile. To me this book / short lecture sounded awesome. In reality. What was the point of this whole thing, I could not find one any where in it. It was just random person talking about England and how he saw people viewing England. No Science behind it, not studies, no nothing that I could tell. Just random opinion and not one that really led to any conclusions. It listens like a Jr High student writing a short essay for a class, and I may be a little generous in putting them in Jr. High
It is had to imagine anyone who would enjoy it
He sounded harsh and condescending
I don't think anyone would find it more enjoyable, unless it's the specific 55-year-old that grew up on the Wonder Books and has since been disillusioned.
Many more things. First, this is clearly an essay. It should be structured like an essay, not floating about gathering stray thoughts. This feels like a well-researched diary entry. He doesn't clearly state his intentions for the essay, just overall distain, yet claims to be an Anglophile. I thought I would learn something from this essay. I didn't.
The narrator spoke very fast. Also, every once in a while, he would slip into a faux English accent that was more distracting than helpful.
The whole thing. It wasn't worth reading.
Just a horrid essay. Don't waste your time. I wish I could get my money back, even though it was free. I'm deleting it from my library instantly.
Overall, I found the information in the book interesting. I just found that the information didn't come up in the most fascinating way.
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