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Harry Bingham

Celebratory, witty and incredibly insightful, Harry Bingham explores the eccentricities and customs of the British nation in a bid to answer a question which has everyone debating -- Who are we? For the British, 'Who are we?' is an oddly difficult question. Although our national self-assessment usually notes a number of good points (we're inventive, tolerant and at least we're not French), it lists a torrent of bad ones too. Our society is fragmented and degenerate. Our kids are thugs, our workers ill-educated, our public services abysmal. We drink too much. Our house prices are crazy, our politicians sleazy, our roads jammed, our football team rubbish. When 'The Times' invited readers to suggest new designs for the backs of British coins, one reader wrote in saying, 'How about a couple of yobs dancing on a car bonnet or a trio of legless ladettes in the gutter?' Is there really nothing to be proud of? British inventors have been responsible for myriad marvels we now take for granted, from the steam engine to the world wide web. British medical and public health innovations -- vaccination, integrated mains sewerage, antiseptic surgery -- have saved far more lives than all other medical innovations put together. And why stop there? The British empire covered a quarter of the earth's surface but used an army smaller than that of Switzerland to exert its rule. The world speaks our language. Our scientists have won vast numbers of Nobel Prizes...

Paperback
362 Pages

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