Across the Pond

Across the Pond

An Englishman's View of America

Book - 2013
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Americans have long been fascinated with the oddness of the British, but the English, says literary critic Terry Eagleton, find their transatlantic neighbors just as strange. Only an alien race would admiringly refer to a colleague as "aggressive," use superlatives to describe everything from one's pet dog to one's rock collection, or speak frequently of being "empowered." Why, asks Eagleton, must we broadcast our children's school grades with bumper stickers announcing "My Child Made the Honor Roll"? Why don't we appreciate the indispensability of the teapot? And why must we remain so irritatingly optimistic, even when all signs point to failure?

On his quirky journey through the language, geography, and national character of the United States, Eagleton proves to be at once an informal and utterly idiosyncratic guide to our peculiar race. He answers the questions his compatriots have always had but (being British) dare not ask, like why Americans willingly rise at the crack of dawn, even on Sundays, or why we publicly chastise cigarette smokers as if we're all spokespeople for the surgeon general.

In this pithy, warmhearted, and very funny book, Eagleton melds a good old-fashioned roast with genuine admiration for his neighbors "across the pond."

Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2013]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393088984
Branch Call Number: 306 Eagleton 06/2013
Characteristics: 178 pages ;,22 cm


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Sep 17, 2020

"It was a communal act of willing that brought America about in the first place."
Funny, witty, and insightful look at cultural, political, and other differences between Brits and Yanks by the Marxist Catholic literary critic/thinker Terry Eagleton. If you're overly sensitive about American image, this is not for you. It can indulge in stereotypes from time to time but most of his conclusions are thoughtful, if sardonic. He throws the Irish in from time to time for good measure.

Nov 10, 2015

The writing is competent, but even though I enjoy what is generally described as the British sense of humour, I did not find that this book was very funny at all. Picked it up and put it down several times, and each time it came across to me as condescending. I don't mind a bit of snark, but this was more like snide.

KCLSRecommends Oct 15, 2014

Amusing, provocative takes on the American character, in contrast to the English and often, the Irish, as well.

Mar 20, 2014

Eagleton takes on American language, geography and national character in an occasionally witty manner. However, he relies too much on Henry James and authors from the 19th century. The comments on language are interesting, but the rest is quite boring.

Aug 23, 2013

Eagleton's poking fun at Americans, Britons, and Irish is refreshing and delightful!


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