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The Xenophobe's Guide to the Americans (Xenophobe's Guides - Oval Books) Paperback – March 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Xenophobe's Guides - Oval Books
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Oval Books; 1st edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902825160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902825168
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.7 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,383,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Xenophobia--an irrational fear of foreigners, probably justified, always understandable."

"Xenophobe's Guides--an irreverent look at the beliefs and foibles of nations, almost guaranteed to cure Xenophobia."

The Xenophobe's motto is "Forewarned is forearmed," and this guide series gives travelers to foreign lands as much ammunition as possible. In The Xenophobe's Guide to the Americans, Stephanie Faul (herself an American) takes readers on a perceptive, ironic, frequently hilarious tour of the American psyche, from its basic traits to its attitudes about sex, drugs, and gun control. Discussing the American character, for example, Faul states "Americans believe themselves to be the only nation that is truly capable of winning.... Having God on your side in a fight is good. Having the United States on your side is better. To an American, they're the same thing." On obsessions she writes: "There are a few, a very few things that Americans condemn as being beyond the pale. They include: Growing Old ... Being Fat ... Dying."

Perhaps Americans themselves are in the best position to appreciate Faul's barbed commentary, but foreign visitors will surely find plenty to inform as well as amuse in this slim volume. American readers, take heart: there are 18 other Xenophobe titles taking equally irreverent potshots at everyone else, from the Australians to the Icelanders. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An enlightened new series, good natured, witty and useful. The Xenophobe's Guides to different nations deserves a real cheer. "
--The European

"Each book is an entertaining essay on the failings, foibles and good points of their subjects. Their humour is relaxed and gentle and it would be a sour, churlish native of a subject country who would object seriously. "
--The Northern Times

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Customer Reviews

I read through this book in an hour or two.
A.
Like I said, it is a very funny book, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good laugh.
Natasha
Quick to read, extremely informative, unbiased and very funny reading.
hrrmph

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Al B. on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great gift to give to someone coming to American or to a foreigner living in the US. This little book irreverently captures what is unique about American life -- a topic that others have struggled with, starting with de Toqueville in the 1800s.
I just wish the author would now do one just specializing in Southerners!
I have read two other books in this series -- one about the Swiss, one about the Germans -- and they are just as accurate and funny.
These little books take no more than an hour or two to read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Natasha on September 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading the Xenophobe's Guide to the Americans. It was a very funny little book, took less than an hour to read. As long as I remained undefensive (I am an American), I enjoyed it. However, I would say that the book is more meant for humor than for actually understanding the culture. Several times the author mentioned atypical examples, or outrageous happenings, to get a point across (e.g. ordering frozen vegetables online). However, some of the examples, despite their absurdity, were dead on! Like I said, it is a very funny book, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good laugh. However, to get a less-stereotypical, more accurate view of any culture, I would recommend the Culture Shock! Series instead.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By AE on December 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm recently spent a year living abroad in the UK. My two English girlfriends bought me this book as a joke, and I love it.

But I don't take it seriously! I'm an American, and most of this stuff is certainly not true for me. But I laughed my ass off reading it (which took a whopping 2 hours).

Ex: "...most Americans aren't fully aware that Canada is a separate nation."

Not a serious gift, or a serious approach to Americans. But funny, and more true than I'd like to admit.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I teach a course at a local business school on the environment for doing business in the United States. All 23 of my students are citizens of other countries and they are hungry for insights and guidance not found in standard texts and properly "politically correct" lectures. I had just submitted my book order for the summer trimester when I learned, to my great dismay, that the book was no longer published. I've since considered every possible (legal & ethical) way of getting this material into my students' hands, only fantasizing about Xeroxing the whole darned thing and then evading the Copyright Police for the rest of my life. I now find that the book is, in fact, still available. Good news for this crop of students and the next!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on July 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This thin book has quick bits of information about American habits and attitudes. It had me rolling on the floor, not wanting to admit how much of it is dead on.
Case in point--a few days ago I read an Amazon review where an American wrote, "As most Americans are quite ignorant (I'm one of the few who isn't, and it's quite annoying, like seeing people trying to use sticks as wheels)..." I started laughing right away--Xenophobe has a section detailing how every American wants to distance themselves from every other American by saying that they are unlike the "average American." The author got it dead on!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mark Day (mark_day@notes.pw.com) on June 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
A humorous and irreverent overview of the American people, American customs and other things American. Not a "how-to" book - it contains no expatriate tax information, immigration information or useful contact numbers. Rather, it is a look at America from a non-American's perspective. It is short, and would be a good gift for someone moving to America from another country. Americans will find it interesting, amusing, and, for the most part, accurate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Garcia on January 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
It's risky of the publishers to put out a series of books based on sterotypes, yet they seem to have done their homework. While in London I got the one on both the English and the French, so it seemed only fair to see what they had to say about the Americans. Although I'd like to think of myself "a cut above" the average, reading this slim volume gave me several laugh outloud moments of personal recognition. It's a fun read.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Rasanen on October 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the book to give to your solipsistic acquaintances who think the United States is the center of the universe. From her opening observation that Americans are like adolescents, to her analysis of American materialism and underlying insecurity and her samples of American English, the author maintains a consistent balance between humor and truth. As an American myself, I may be biased, but I found this delightful little book to be even better than the Xenophobe's Guides to the Spanish and the Australians.
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