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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942: Reproduced from the original typescript, War Department, Washington, DC (Instructions for Servicemen) Hardcover – September 1, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"as much a guide to the American psyche, as to the British... The guide's apparant simplicity belies its complexity. It deserves to be a set text in schools and universities, and should be compulsory reading for all philologists." --Eluned Price, The Daily Telegraph

(Eluned Price The Daily Telegraph 2005-03-29)

"A book warning US soldiers about British pecularities has become a surprise bestseller -- 60 years after it was first published."

(Sunday Express 2005-01-16)

"an intriguing little pamplet"--Ed Perkins, Bournemouth Daily Echo

(Bournemouth Daily Echo)

"Its tips may be based on the stereotypical -- and probably mythical -- Englishman, but they seem to ring true and are delivered with surprising wit. . . . a real gem."

(Armchair General 2005-11-01)

About the Author

Nick Millea is the Map Librarian at the Bodleian Library.
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Product Details

  • Series: Instructions for Servicemen
  • Hardcover: 31 pages
  • Publisher: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford; 2nd edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851240853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851240852
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.3 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

There's an old saying: "It is always impolite to criticize your hosts; it is militarily stupid to criticize your allies." No kidding. Which is why, in 1942, when the Americans took up residence in Britain, a seven-page long pamphlet was distributed, essentially to help the Yanks understand their British "cousins."

Little did they know that those seven pages, some six decades later, would be read aloud on bus routes in London as amusing historical relics for the entertainment of passengers.

Short, sweet, and hysterically funny to the modern ear, this books gives a very good view of how Americans saw the British people, both during WW2 and even now, by comparing how we saw them then to how we see them today. The book goes into everything, using clear language and astonishing detail for all its length: sports, weights and measures, monetary units, rationing. Some of the instructions bring home the fact that America was itself a drastically different place sixty years ago; some of it brings into stark relief that by the time the US entered the war, Britain had been involved for over two years already.

But perhaps what makes it so funny now is the language itself, since phrases have changed so drastically in the last sixty years, something quite ironically stated in the first few pages: "The British have phrases and colloquialisms of their own that may sound funny to you. You can make just as many boners in their eyes...."

Indeed.
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I bought this book mainly as part of my living history impression of a World War II American paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Though it is educational from a historical point of view, and an excellent glimpse into the lives of the Americans that were in Britain in 1943-44 to prepare for the invasion of the continent, I personally didn't learn anything knew from it, just because I've been studying the war and wartime Great Britain for such a long time. It did, however, give me a firmer concept of how the American brass of the period thought of life in Great Britain, and of the how American were used to living. It also gives an idea of how American servicemen at the time thought of themselves and others, based on the way the book communicates its points.

It's also very amusing, as many reviewers have pointed out, and I imagine more amusing to current Brit readers than Americans. Unless an American reader is interested in history, I don't think they would understand a good portion of the content, and certainly not the importance of it. Without jets and the internet in those days, people in every country were more isolated then than we are now. Europeans had an advantage, because the countries are smaller (hence, easier to cross), and so many are so close together. They were/are more likely to have contact with people from other cultures. Americans didn't have that opportunity unless they were wealthy and could travel. Therefore, your average Joe from a mid-size city in the Midwest never considered the fact that English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh people had a culture that was very different from ours. I could go on and on about that, but that wouldn't be a review of this book if I did.
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United States War Department

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford; 2004; 31 pp.

This is a charming book I received from a dear friend from Devonshire, England. It is a reproduction of an original pamphlet produced by the War Department in 1942. It was meant to give a brief introduction to Britain and its people and some words of advice to the servicemen shipping over to England to join the Allies in destroying Hitler. The writing comes across quaint and nostalgic from the modern perspective.

I actually did learn a little about the geography and demographics of England. The discourse on the characteristics of Britons as seen from the American viewpoint was relatively true to form, I believe, and sometimes humorous as well.
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As the name implies, this book was distributed to all American servicemen sent to Britain in preparation for the invasion of mainland Europe on D-Day. It gives a nice, straightforward analysis of the differences between British and American cultures of the day. Many of the comparisons still hold true, in my experience anyway. A fun read and a nice look back into real-life history.
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My English boyfriend gave this to me, an American, as a gift. I think it's absolutely charming, quirky and amusing. Definitely great as a little token for someone with a sense of humor and an appreciation for history.
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31 pages of British Culture, much of which is still relevant today. You wonder why the British act and behave in a certain way? Wonder no more! This book was originally written on a paper pamphlet for American Servicemen at War. It certainly rekindles the partnership of the Americans and British - they seem to have always worked well when going to war.

There is that mutual respect that exists today, even after war and history stories have passed on through the time.

I loved this book, because all the little things within are described perfectly - I can relate to most of them today. Like the British refer to movies as films and use the term "cinemas."

I like the reference to coffee and tea at the back of the book as well as inside the book. If you are visiting Britain today, this book still serves up a good reminder of why the British are reserved, but still friendly.

Check out the book today!!
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