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.
©1942 Public Domain; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"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 alltake out the references to Hitler and a lot of the advice still holds up today!" (Christina Harcar, Director, Editorial Business Development)
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!
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This is a wonderful and unexpectedly, unintentionally hilarious short course in WWII U.S. Defense Department propaganda. What a fascinating peek into history! The listener easily imagines the hapless enlisted young man, still green behind the ears, having this booklet shoved into his hands as he steps onto the ship that will transport him to the Europe he has only seen in movies--a Europe now at war--a Europe from which he may not return--and reading about how the British "don't handle the ball as cleanly as we do, but they are nimble on their feet" and how one must "never, ever make fun of the king or queen." The chapter on language, idioms and pronunciation differences alone is priceless.
Audible, thank you so much for offering this terrific free gift to listeners!
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.
Tell us about yourself!
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.
The Tommy, of course.
The =overview at the end
No I didn't, but it did make me giggle, not something the authors would have intended.
Well worth a listen
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!!
This was a great read. I thought it would be dry, but it wasn't. Much of the advice is still good.
Say something about yourself!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not really applicable to this non-fiction manual.
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.
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.
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