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Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942 | [U.S. War Department]

Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942

Here is a recording of a War Department pamphlet aimed at U.S. Servicemen in Britain in 1942. The jovial tone of the document and its advice about how NOT to offend the British make for a nostalgic - and in places humorous - relic of World War II.
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Audible Editor Reviews

This audio, performed by Alexei Grebisch in a deep voice that connotes the concern of a big brother, subtly amplifies the charmingly dated affect of its source material: an instructional pamphlet from 1942 for US soldiers heading to England. It had the specific goal of fostering good relations with the US’s WWII allies and preventing the misunderstandings that might arise from cultural differences, such as use of slang. So many years later, taken out of context, it has become an endearing document of a different time; stripped of military intention its message can be more clearly seen as one of tolerance and mutual respect.

Publisher's Summary

Here is a recording of a War Department pamphlet aimed at U.S. Servicemen in Britain in 1942. The jovial tone of the document and its advice about how NOT to offend the British make for a nostalgic - and in places humorous - relic of World War II.

©1942 Public Domain; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Before coming to Audible, my job was to sell book rights in the UK to British publishers on behalf of a major trade publisher, so I spent a week in London each spring. One day I ducked into an independent bookstore in Piccadilly where Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942 called to me. I read it all, standing in the vestibule of the shop, and bought several copies as gifts. I loved the nostalgia value of the pamphlet: its jovial (and now inadvertently humorous) tone, and most of all, the impressive scope of the War Department's preparation for entering the European theater in World War II. Over time I've come to appreciate that the book isn't such a nostalgia piece after all—take out the references to Hitler and a lot of the advice still holds up today!" (Christina Harcar, Director, Editorial Business Development)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (324 )
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4.0 (119 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Alan Raleigh, NC 05-23-09
    Alan Raleigh, NC 05-23-09 Member Since 2005

    Drumlin

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Feeling nostalgic?"

    I'm not ashamed to say that this recording had me close to tears more than once! I grew up in the Britain of the 1950s & 60's, just a few years after this document was issued, and have lived in the US for the past 35 years. It brought back memories of a nation so familiar to me, and now so changed! The stories my parents told - my mother a munitions worker, my Dad a "Tommy" in the Royal Artillery - echo throughout this document. Yes, it's quaint and funny, and frankly propagandist, but it really struck a chord. Thank you, Audible, for making this available!

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 09-17-11
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 09-17-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A tremendous window of history"

    There are a series of unique examples as the Yank military tries to explain to Yanks how we both alike & need to understand the Corky's!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 02-24-10
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 02-24-10 Member Since 2009
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    "A lot of fun"

    This was a great read. I thought it would be dry, but it wasn't. Much of the advice is still good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Smith Orlando, Florida United States 07-07-09
    Roger Smith Orlando, Florida United States 07-07-09 Member Since 2000

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Wonderful classic feel"

    If you are interested in the military, WWII, and international relations from the middle of the last century, you will love this. It is classic and genuine.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark U. 06-25-11
    Mark U. 06-25-11 Member Since 2009
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    "A tidbit of history."

    A fun read for the history buff of WW2. The booklet gives insite into the relations between the US and our British allies. It also helps in understanding sayings such as: "Over payed, over sexed, and over here" came from.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jesse United States 12-10-13
    jesse United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2010

    J-

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    "f'ing he larious"
    What did you love best about Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942?

    Its worth 35 minutes of your time.


    What other book might you compare Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942 to and why?

    UCMJ, cause it gospel mofo


    What does Alexei Grebisch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Voice


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The part where American servicemen are cautioned to avoid making fun of British peoples poor dental hygiene


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DS NH 03-10-13
    DS NH 03-10-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

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    "A GREAT TIME MACHINE"

    This is like a time machine.... a great way-back machine to understanding what Winston Churchill call "One people separated by a common language". Great fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 01-28-13
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 01-28-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Instructions for American Service Men."
    Would you try another book from U.S. War Department and/or Alexei Grebisch?

    For a short book on what American Service men were told to do in Britain during World War ll it was interesting enough. It's not long but it is interesting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 06-18-12
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 06-18-12 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "World War II England for the American Farmboy"
    What made the experience of listening to Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942 the most enjoyable?

    I can imagine soldiers on troop transports going over to England reading this short guide over and over, hoping for a bit of romance and adventure while they dreaded the war. The world was a much different place and Great Brittain was truly very, very far away for the average American. I don't know how accurate the manual was for the time, but it shows that even three quarters of a century ago, America was trying to be culturally sensitive.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942?

    The use of older terms, such as "chum" and "pal" are charming. The explanation of British customs, such as tea and warm beer, are fun. The instructions to servicemembers invited to dine at civilian's homes not to eat too much because of rationing is a stark reminder of the hardships Europeans had during the war.

    The manual is an attempt to draw 18 - 21 year olds out of their xenophobic shells, and a recognition of the importance of treating allies with respect.


    Which character – as performed by Alexei Grebisch – was your favorite?

    Not really applicable to this non-fiction manual.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book definitely made me smile. It seemed like a much more innocent time - but the manual was written for people who were going to fight and possibly die to protect the world from three countries intentent on conquering Europe and Asia.


    Any additional comments?

    This manual interested me so much, I decided to purchase Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War", which I am enjoying.

    The narrator is perfect for this manual.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Annerley, Australia 02-02-12
    Vicki Annerley, Australia 02-02-12 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself!

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    "I wish I could find a print copy too"
    Would you listen to Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942 again? Why?

    Absolutely. I have already listened to it twice more. I love old things and from an outsider's perspective it is quite amusing. Mind you, it is STILL quite useful.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Tommy, of course.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The =overview at the end


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No I didn't, but it did make me giggle, not something the authors would have intended.


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth a listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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