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Brit-Think, Ameri-Think: A Transatlantic Survival Guide, Revised Edition [Paperback]

Jane Walmsley
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 25 2003

When it comes to understanding the great cultural ocean that divides Brits and Yanks, it's not just our vocabulary but also our attitudes that differ. This irreverent guide surveys a whole gamut of British-American divergences, from sex to food, from pets to religion, from sports to money, and from war to-most divergent of all-humor. Entertaining and invaluable, Brit-Think, Ameri-Think has been updated to reflect changes in political, cultural, and social trends, and includes new chapters on cultural icons Oprah Winfrey and Bridget Jones, and on Brit-cool vs. Ameri-cool.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

An American broadcaster and journalist who lives in London with her British husband, Walmsley observes that Yanks and Brits have distinctly different "attitudes and aspirations." Here she catalogues some of those differences, and the subjects include pets ("What Joan Collins is to Yanks' fantasies, sheepdogs are to Brits' "); humor ("The vastly popular Johnny Carson Show laid a U.K. egg"); sports (cricket is "an exercise of such subtlety that only life long devotees can tell when the ball is actually in play"); consumerism ("British salespeople are very attached to merchandise and try hard to keep it in the store"); and public appeal ("To succeed in America, you have to be 'cute' "). Walmsley also covers sex, death, religion, war, television and ice cream ("the Great Levelerthe Yank version of pubs"). This is a fine, funny guide from a perceptive humorist.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A candid and humorous look at the way Americans and British view life from different perspectives...combining clever quips with the humour found on both sides of the Atlantic." —The Washington Post

"A funny, shrewd book." —Alastair Cooke

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect as half of the whole picture... June 2 2003
This book by an American born woman who has been transplanted to Britain is a very enjoyable read. Her anecdotal style makes the information fun and fascinating, and her insights invaluable, though one must have a sense of humor about both cultures as she is very tongue-in-cheek. As opposed to most other books I've read on the subject that are almost strictly technical, Walmsley tells the readers in a very conversational style about many differences that wouldn't occur to most travelers - differences in attitude (about sex, gender issues, finance, etc.), values, customs, ettiquette and habits; and she may sometimes touch a little on why the discrepencies exist.
Because this is in no way a dictionary style book, she does not offer alternate words, phrases or technical info. Thus, as a supplement, I highly recommend "Divided by a Common Language" by Christopher Davies, who (as opposed to Walmsley) is a Brit who now lives in Florida.
All in all, a humorous, anecdotal insight into two very different cultures. Even though this may not be as technical as some travelers would prefer, the information is crucial for developing a truer understanding than is offered in any travel guide, so do not pass it over for the latter; buy it as well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Just plain fun March 19 2003
This short, biting, tongue in cheek satire does not necessarily pick original targets: bad teeth, the royal family, food, clothing, temperature, sex, etc. This is no small matter as Walmsley gleeflully creates a super fast and light read highlighting the many differences existing on both sides of the pond. An American married to a Brit herself, Walmsley has experienced first hand all the dichotomous behaviors seperating us from our former landlords. My favorite chapter focuses on our respective perceptions and reactions to Death. In this particular chapter, Walmsley hits her target like a SAS (or SEAL) sniper.
This is not great literature, it is just simply plain fun as well as required reading for any true card carrying Anglophilic American patriot like myself. A pure harmless (and highly affordable!) way to spend an hour or pass the time on a transatlantic flight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars funny, accurate, but dated June 24 2001
This book is a humorous and mostly accurate comparison and contrast of the British and American cultures. It explores a wide array of the facets of our cultures, showing that George Bernard Shaw was right on the money when he said that the British and the Americans were two peoples divided by a common language.
The major problem with this book is that it is dated. A lot of references to the politics and pop culture of the Eighties, including Margaret Thatcher, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, the television shows "Dallas" and "Dynasty" and their characters and stars.
Other than this, a good book to have if you are interested in the cultural differences one finds across the Atlantic, but I'm not sure how reliable a cultural guide it would be if you were to travel today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and very true Oct. 6 1999
This book creases me up. As an angry young man growing up in England, it was fashionable to rage against the cultural imperialism of the folks with whom we share something of a common language but actually surprisingly little culture across the water. Now I thoroughly enjoy visiting the US and doing most of my business with Americans - and I put some of the fun and success I've had doing that down to this book. It was bought for me by an all-american gal with the words 'Hugh, read this if you want us get along!" (by the way that's 'get along' not 'get on' - just one example of a potential pitfall for the unwary!). Thank you Marly - and I hereby pass on your commendation to anyone else who's trying to have business or personal relationship across the atlantic divide!
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3.0 out of 5 stars funny, but not a useful "guide" June 30 2001
This book is funny -- it will provide laughs for the American expat or traveler who has spent a fair amount of time in Britain, who has seen the socks & sensible sandals combo, suffered through the self-deprecating humor, sipped a few too many sodas sans ice, watched sandwiches eaten with knife & fork, had "puddings" for dessert. Beyond the laugh factor, I'm not sure how useful it is. A casual traveler might be helped by the Brit-American dictionary in the front of the book ("chips = French fries, crisps = potato chips, biscuit = cookie, scone = biscuit," etc., but beyond that, I wouldn't rely on this as a "survival guide."
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By A Customer
I was absolutely hooked by page 4. Working for a British controlled company in the southern United States, and also having a British boss, I was "keen" to have a better understanding of why there were so many disconnects in our communication.
Between chortles and tears of laughter, I discovered the true understanding of why we are separated by a common language. Highly recommended - particularly for those who deal with the Yank / Brit equation on a regular basis. Thanks to this book I have a true appreciation (and now understanding) of those puzzled looks I receive on a daily basis!
My boss needs to read it next!
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a HUMOR book, y'all .... Oct. 10 2003
As a Brit married to a Yank, I had to laugh at a few of the customer reviews below. Some people seemed to be very seriously expecting a guide about how to avoid horrible breaches of business etiquette. Just because it has 'Survival Guide' in the title..... lighten up!
Admittedly, it probably is a little dated. I was given my treasured, tattered copy a number of years ago by an Anglophile Yank, and laughed my head off at the very accurate observations. I suddenly understood why my American friends thought I had a 'poor self-image' - they take all that self-depracating humor seriously!
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