Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Mad, Impossible, Cunning English

The English are 'mad' and 'impossible', according to a short book from 1944 aimed at introducing WW2 US servicemen to our country foibles.
The 1944 guide titled ‘The English and their Country’ is being reprinted by the Imperial War Museum and was aimed at introducing the Americans to some of the quirks of the English, including our eating, the North-South divide and our infamous standoffishness and stiff upper lip.
The Americans writers of the pamphlet explained that the English are: 'a mystery which has confounded other nations since time immemorial' and 'the English have been called mad, hypocritical, impossible, ridiculous, cunning, simple and many other terms that, taken together, cancel each other out'.
The book also warns that us English folk like to mind our own business and take a long time to warm to people and will not volunteer any information about themselves.
All hard to dismiss, they had us down to a tee especially the remarks about our food, stating that: 'the English love of bacon and eggs for breakfast' and our tendency to fall asleep after a big Sunday lunch.
What they didn't mention was our enjoyment, 70 years later, of reminding the American servicemen that WW2 actually began in 1939.

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