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Hugh Dennis has secretly been worrying about what being "British" meant for nearly a decade, ever since his friend Ardal O'Hanlon had told him in passing that he was the most British person he had ever met. Hugh was unclear whether he was being praised, teased, vaguely insulted, or possibly all three - because it has always been very difficult to know how to feel about being British.
And then the London Olympics came along. We gave the world a gleaming new vision of Britain; a smiling Britain of achievement, a Britain responsible for leading the world into the modern era through the Agrarian and Industrial Revolutions, a nation proud to embrace multiculturalism, individuality, and eccentricity. A country where a major politician can dangle helplessly from a zip wire like a discarded straw dolly and gain in popularity, and whose Queen can send herself up and then descend by parachute.
The unexpected legacy of the Games has been a Britain with a new found self-confidence in which we all know how to be British. A Britain which should be embarrassed by nothing and proud of everything, from sheep to chimneys to the Spice Girls to industrial action and what had always previously been described as our "ailing transport network". A Britain which having been pinned firmly in its own half, has dribbled the length of the field, nutmegged the defenders, unleashed a curling dipping shot into the top right-hand corner, scored a wonder goal and is now kissing the badge.
This is Hugh Dennis' exploration of the changing image of Britain and Britishness.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sue McW on 07-28-13
Informative and entertaining read
If you enjoy Hugh Dennis' laid-back approach and the light-hearted tone to his voice, then this is the audiobook for you. You will learn a lot of surprising information about Britain and its people through history, and the present day. The clearly defined subjects for each chapter mean you can dip in and out if you so wish. I would recommend this book to anyone.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Robert on 02-10-14
I like Hugh Dennis, and he does an excellent job of narrating his own book here, as he has done with the tomes of others when drafted in to read BBC Radio 4's "Book of the Week" on more than one occasion.
The idea is a good one - what IS it that makes the British feel that they stand apart? He explores this using a thematic structure - food, weather, sport etc.The content is even interesting for the most part and I learned some stuff I didn't know.
Here's the rub though; it is not an audiobook I'd listen to again in a hurry because the overriding thought I had as I listened along was that I was merely listening to one man's internet surfing results. I had this mental picture of Mr Dennis sat in front of his computer late at night just filtering the results that Google turned up when he entered his chosen search terms.
It's a pity, but I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted too. He's an engaging author with a good book in him I'm sure, so I hope that he has another go.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful