Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book is in very good condition. It may have some slight wear and possibly include a previous ownerâ€TMs name. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile's Pilgrimage to the Mother Country Hardcover – October 14, 2004

3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$1.95 $0.01

Featured Biographies & Memoirs
Hallow This Ground (Break Away Books)
Hallow This Ground (Break Away Books)
Hallow This Ground (Break Away Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Humorist Queenan calls this account of his 2002 trip to Great Britain "an affectionate jeremiad," conveying both his emotional ambivalence and displaying his favorite rhetorical device, the oxymoron. The West End musical We Will Rock You is "triumphantly cretinous"; a village woman is "belligerently harmless"; the museum curator wears an "ecstatically sober dress," etc. More broadly, contradiction is basic both to Queenan's humor and to his love-hate relationship with the British. He loves their "arch phrasing, infectious understatement and delightful euphemisms," just as he hates when all that posturing culminates in "the twit," that "master of rehearsed eccentricity." As with many travel accounts, one learns more about the traveler than about the locale. Queenan is a connoisseur of bad art; he can endure roomfuls of bad paintings at the Tate, just to make naughty remarks about the "insidious" hairstyles of yesteryear. Madame Tussaud's? It's "insufficiently absurd... nowhere near as bad as it ought to be." Conversely, he's thrilled to book a room at Durham's 500-year-old castle, complete with ghosts and a view of the cathedral. Indeed, the "American Dream," as Queenan explains it, is to stand on a fog-swept London street, watching the bobbies and dodging the double-deckers. As he says, there "isn't anything in the world better than riding a London double-decker bus." Hand-sell to the tweedies?
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Who knew that Joe Queenan--who years ago called the English "pasty-faced, mean-spirited, stingy, badly-dressed, anal-retentive, unfriendly, unadventurous, unimaginative people"--could bring himself to write this book-length love letter to the "mother country." Perhaps his English wife of 25 years finally softened him up. He fights the Joe Queenan fight: railing here against Paul McCartney, Pre-Raphaelites, Cats, English haircuts and public transportation, Fergie, Chelsea football supporters, Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook, and more. But the complaints are outnumbered by Queenan's love of a nice cup of tea, England's circuitous roads and stone houses, its writers (Swift, Dryden, Pope, Boswell, Samuel Johnson), its domestic niceties, and its "ebulliently shabby pubs." Queenan's is not a quickie romance; nor is this book an afterthought. It is written with the depth and detail of someone who's paid attention to his subject for a long time. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (November 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805069801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805069808
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,053,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've read all of these reviews, and will just have to run the risk of someone calling me a "sourpuss" because as much as I was looking forward to reading this book, I found it a real disappointment. Let me explain.

I should say at the outset that I enjoy a good cross-cultural put down as much as the next fellow, and am not one of the overly sensitive, "political correctness at all costs" gang. In fact, I have an ongoing (good-humored) verbal joust going with a Brit who works with me; he makes fun of things American and I return the favor. Then I heard an interview with Queenan on NPR and thought he was a scream. And so I sent away for the book and opened it with great expectation for a ripping good time at the expense of my British friends. But frankly, I am now three-quarters of the way through it and have yet to have a really good laugh. I agree with the other reviewers, even those who like the book, when they say that it is full of "rants." Although they do not mean this as a warning, it should be. His approach to writing seems to move from "I really dislike (insert long list of people or behaviors," to "here is another list of British people/behaviors that really annoy me or that are simply stupid."

Want some examples of his deep, humorous, and wry insights? How about, "John Lennon's musical legacy is ludicrously overrated....Lennon's solo records generally stink." Deep; and very clever. And turning to Paul McCartney, he opines, "The good that had come from `I Saw Her Standing There' and `Please Please Me' had been supplanted by the evil of `Ebony and Ivory' and `Silly Love Songs.
Read more ›
Comment 35 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Joe Queenan's articles in Spy magazine were some of the funniest things I've ever read. His humor has a dark cynical side and he seems to look down on everything in America outside of a few favored metropolitan areas. In _Red Lobster, White Trash, & the Blue Lagoon_, the humor and the attitude work well together as he examines some of the pop culture phenomena that literate and tasteful people avoid. _Balsamic Dreams_ is less successful; while the baby boomers deserve a lot of scorn, this book is more bitter than funny. _True Believers_, his book on sports fans, is very enlightening because Queenan is so ready to sneer at the tastes of average Americans, but shares their love of sports. _Queenan Country_ is also about love: his love for England, his English wife, and even his in-laws. Queenan's high culture references are relevant to his subject here and not just ironic counterpoint to horrible pop tastes. He is honest about his reactions to British literary classics and as willing to ask tough questions about them as he was when exploring trashy bestsellers in _Red Lobster_. He writes that when you push on a door in Britain, you are bound to find something wonderful and unexpected on the other side. I don't want to spoil the reader's pleasure in following Queenan through the door as he enjoys a range of delightful high and pop culture experiences by revealing any details. I laughed loudly throughout this book, not just out loud, but "what's wrong with him" loud. Queenan is quite willing to criticize the bad points in British society, but this book is quite upbeat and uplifting for him. This is must reading for any anglophile or anyone who loves to laugh. He is very funny citing Paul Theroux's _Kingdom by the Sea_; if you have enjoyed Paul Theroux or Bill Bryson, don't miss this book. I would love to read another book about Queenan's experiences in France.
Comment 16 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I was in the mood to re-read Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, and while stumbling around the 914 section of the Library, I ran across this. While it's much more acerbic, and less loving than Bryson's, it's still a hoot, and the bottom line is that Queenan and I agree on a number of points, such as our dislike of Paul McCartney's post-Beatles dreck, the twee-ness of much of the Cotswolds, and the fact that food, grooming, and dental care are far better than the ignorati in the US believe(see 'Austin Powers'.....at your own risk).
Queenan loves the idiosyncrasies of the Brits, as do I. By the way, if you do, also, check out Willie Donaldson's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics: An A-Z of Roguish Britons Through the Ages. The compiler of that tome, William Donaldson, would have been a perfect subject of one of the entries.)
This won't be for everyone, but while Queenan takes the "Mickey" or "piss" out of the Brits, he really does love England, and bemoans the fact that there are places he has yet to visit.
Lucky me, though, since unlike Queenan, I haven't had to stop drinking, since pubs are such a wonderfully enjoyable part of British life.
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I'm not familiar with anything else that Queenan has written, and I've never been to England. But hey, I like the country's musicians and authors, and I'll even eat their food. But as an American, I'll never understand the love of "football" or many other eccentric customs of the locals. Which maybe is why I enjoyed this book so much. As an equally perplexed outsider, I found Queenan's observations both entertaining and enlightening. I can understand why many would dislike this book, and also why many would find his style of written rants a bit over the top. In the end, though, I thought that this was a fast, fun, and funny read, written with a style that I found more appealing than annoying.
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews