By Terry Eagleton


W.W.Norton 2013

Here is an eye-opening, amusing explanation-with-examples of the differences between the U.S. and the British Isles in speech, outlook, and even way of thinking. Those who have never visited any of these countries will be amazed at the depth of those differences. As one who has had the pleasure of being there in person, I was surprised at the depth of that diversity explained in this book.

Terms that we use in this country are used entirely differently, with some instances changing the meaning into something that is totally opposite and even insulting–or worse. But it doesn’t stop there. The differences in traditions go beyond more than just how we celebrate an event. What we in America deem important is ignored in their culture. How we speak about people or events can be totally misunderstood and even considered an insult to them. And to add to the problem, it might differ from country to country, so having experience in one country would not insure complete understanding of what to do or say in others.

We can only chuckle to read about our own speech with its familiar terms and outlooks and how it might be interpreted by our friends “across the pond.” And, in the process, we just might learn something about ourselves.