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I didn't think I needed this book. Not really. After all, I grew up in America, but our family friends included several people from England. As a child and as an adult, I love British TV, movies, and... well, I can't get enough of Jane Austen and P. G. Wodehouse books. And, I've spent considerable time traveling throughout the British Isles.

So, I thought I was fairly fluent in English views, slang, and manners.

Reading this book, I realized that I wasn't even close to understanding the "rules" of the culture. Worse, I was badly mistaken about a few things.

This is easily the very best book for anyone visiting England, and it will answer questions you didn't even know you had. Avoid social blunders, pronunciation gaffes, and absolute confusion as you travel around the U.K. Get this book and read it cover-to-cover.

"Rules, Britannia" is entertaining reading, written from an American viewpoint. I laughed, I blushed, and I took notes.

I wish I'd read it years ago, not just for travel, but also to better understand subtle humor in British TV shows on PBS... including Downton Abbey. And, no matter how light I want to keep my luggage, this book is sure to be in my suitcase during future trips to England.
2 people found this helpful
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on June 6, 2014
Although I enjoyed this guide (can't call it a book just because it has chapters), the reader should be warned it's just a long list of tips organized and put together in chapters. Every chapter/topic has it's own glossary of british and american english words, which is interesting and easy to check after having-read the chapter. Rules, Britannia has proven helpful, although if you need a more professional reading on English culture you'll be better off reading 'Watching the English' written by an anthropologist, now Oxford lecturer. I would recommend Rules Britannia as a second reading after having gone through Watching the English.
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The author seems like a nice, sincere person, so I hate to put her book down, but it does have some issues. Don't get me wrong, there is much useful information in it. However, the author doesn't seem to have a grasp of what Americans know and don't know. For instance, she thinks we don't know what a cul-de-sac is. There were many words and terms that she listed as not being known in America that are commonly used here, such as geezer, pink slip, RSVP, bookie, babysitter, not my cup of tea, over the moon, plastered (drunk), and tata--just for starters. She also thinks that to us the word neat means cool, and that we don't use it to mean tidy. I was amazed when she thought we didn't know about the BBC, and a little put off that she thought she had to explain that when you receive an invitation you should respond. What kind of clods does she think we are? She also thinks you've never been through a drive through car wash. Okay, enough of what she doesn't understand about us. As I said, there is much to like about the book. However, I think for an American moving to the UK a better choice might be An American Guide to Britishness, which is by an American woman who now lives in the UK. There is also More Postcards From Across the Pond, which is essays by an American man living in Britain.
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on December 15, 2011
Book content is great; there's some info you should already be familiar with, but lots of gems to keep you from embarrassing yourself more than you might otherwise as you settle in to life in the UK. That said, the reformatting for Kindle is, as seems usual, poor. I really resent paying for digital books that haven't even been spell checked, and this digital text contains a handful of errors which can be particularly confusing if you're not familiar with British lingo and spelling. For this kind of book at this kind of price, errors in the Kindle version are unacceptable-- get with it Amazon!
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on March 16, 2009
This is the type of book I enjoy: a tell it like it is, give it to me straight guide to Britain. If you are new to the UK or just keen on unraveling all (well, some) of its mysteries, Rules, Britannia is a fine place to start.

While Rules, Britannia was a bit of a review for me (having lived in the UK), I took great pleasure in walking down memory lane and had quite a few "Oh, yes!" moments when I was reminded of things I had forgotten. Even still, Toni managed to teach this die hard Britophile a thing or two...or three. For instance, I was not aware that discussing ones salary in Britain is considered taboo. I'm glad to hear it frankly and wish we were as discreet here. Recently a work mate of mine ask me how many credit cards I have and if I pay them off each month. Shocking!

Some of the topics covered in Rules, Britannia include differences in our use of English, especially particular words and phrases, as well as driving in the UK, restaurant etiquette and Pub life. My favourite chapters are on the British educational system and Briton's attitudes toward child rearing. I never quite understood what the differences were between GCSE's, A Levels and O Levels, but Rules, Britannia explained it all clearly. And I was happy to learn that Brits draw a distinct line between their children and their social lives.

I really wish Rules, Britannia was around for me to read prior to 1988 when I arrived in England. It would have been an excellent resource to take the edge off of the culture shock I experienced. I will certainly pass the book along to my husband, whom before he met me, barely gave the UK a thought I'm afraid. Thanks to Toni's hard work, I feel confident he'll be ready for our trip back to the UK next year.

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on January 6, 2011
I bought this for my sister who is moving to England. Her English boyfriend took a look at it before I gave it to her and got a real kick out of it- he said it was hilariously accurate, so I think it will be helpful for her. A lot of information about the different lingo and word meaning and social norms- what is appropriate and what is not. All in an entertaining writing style. Good book.
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on June 11, 2017
Excellent and straight forward advice that isn't immensely complicated if you are just going to visit England and you don't need to know complete British psychology.
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on April 13, 2012
Great book! I am a teacher of English from Argentina and I found this book quite useful! I haven't got the chance to go to England to experience life there myself. thanks to all the information that is in this book I know more about British culture and I can pass it to my students! It is well written and sometimes fun! Very useful for someone who is moving there or loves British culture as me! Thanks to the author! Love from Argentina!
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on June 19, 2006
I've now read this book front to back twice and I have found it to be so incredibly helpful as I prepare for my move to the UK in July. I would highly recommend this book to anyone moving from the US to the UK, or the UK to the US...or just anyone interested in British culture, as it is highly entertaining as well as informative.
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on June 14, 2014
This book has been very helpful. I have traveled the UK a couple of times and have been confused on some things. If I were to be moving over the pond, I would make the transition with ease.
One person found this helpful
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