What makes the English English? Is it their eccentricity, their passionate love (or, indeed, hatred) of Marmite - or is it something less easily defined?
Beginning at the top of a muddy Gloucestershire slope at the Cooper's Hill cheese-rolling contest and traversing a landscape of lawns and queues, coastlines and sporting arenas, Ben Fogle takes us on a journey through the peculiarly English: a country of wax jackets, cricket, boat races and jellied eels, by way of national treasures such as the shipping forecast, fish and chips and the Wellington boot. Not to mention the Dunkirk spirit of relentless optimism in the face of adversity, be it the heroic failure of Captain Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition or simply the perennial hope for better weather.
The archetypal Englishman - lover of Labradors and Land Rovers yet holder of two passports - Ben applauds all things quintessentially English while also paying tribute to the history, culture and ideas adopted with such gusto that they have become part of the fabric of the country. Written with Ben's trademark warmth and wit, this is a lighthearted yet touching tribute to all things English.
First I’ll start with the good point: the narration was great. I always like listening to the English accent. Now for the book, I must say it was a bit of a letdown. The umbrella on the cover pretty much says it all. A huge part of the book talks weather and you can really only listen to so much of that before it gets old. The rest of the book was so-so. I would’ve liked there to be a bit more humor. There were a few attempts at it , but nothing to write home about. Just so-so.
really enjoyed this book its well worth the listen Ben has explored ENGLISHNESS brilliantly and everything is relatable
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book should be entitled “Upper Class English” and devoted far too much time to how things used to be when class was everything in England. The author quotes at such length from elsewhere that you wonder why you didn’t just buy those books instead. And for me, he gets the difference between nationalism and the flag completely the wrong was around: it is the Union flag that has become associated with the far right and not the Cross of St George!