Sorry! by Henry Hitchings
The English and Their Manners

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This seriously amusing and illuminating book goes a long way toward explaining to Anglophobe, Anglophile, and the just plain puzzled why “the average Briton says ‘Sorry’ eight times a day.”
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

A humorous and charming investigation into what it really means to have proper manners

Most of us know a bit about what passes for good manners—holding doors open, sending thank-you notes, no elbows on the table—and we certainly know bad manners when we see them. But where has this patchwork of beliefs and behaviors come from? How did manners develop? How do they change? And why do they matter so much? In examining English manners, Henry Hitchings delves into the English character and investigates what it means to be English.
Sorry! presents an amusing, illuminating, and quirky audit of British manners. From basic table manners to appropriate sexual conduct, via hospitality, chivalry, faux pas, and online etiquette, Hitchings traces the history of England's customs and courtesies. Putting some of the most astute observers of humanity—including Jane Austen and Samuel Pepys—under the microscope, he uses their lives and writings to pry open the often downright peculiar secrets of the English character. Hitchings's blend of history, anthropology, and personal journey helps us understand the bizarre and contested cultural baggage that goes along with our understanding of what it means to have good manners.

 

About Henry Hitchings

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Henry Hitchings was born in 1974. He is the author of The Language Wars, The Secret Life of Words, Who’s Afraid of Jane Austen?, and Defining the World. He has con­tributed to many newspapers and magazines and is the theater critic for the London Evening Standard. He lives in London.
 
Published November 5, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 401 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel, Cooking, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Sorry!
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 01 2013

John Cleese’s observation that the English are the only people on Earth with clenched hair is more economical, but Hitchings’ book, if sometimes overgeneralized, is still a pleasure to read.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 24 2013

This seriously amusing and illuminating book goes a long way toward explaining to Anglophobe, Anglophile, and the just plain puzzled why “the average Briton says ‘Sorry’ eight times a day.”

Read Full Review of Sorry!: The English and Their... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 24 2013

This seriously amusing and illuminating book goes a long way toward explaining to Anglophobe, Anglophile, and the just plain puzzled why “the average Briton says ‘Sorry’ eight times a day.”

Read Full Review of Sorry!: The English and Their... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by BRIAN SEWELL on Dec 13 2013

But "Sorry!" lacks the bearing of a work of reference that will still be on our shelves in the middle of this century. The chapters are so uniform that they have the character of essays by a Saturday journalist...and Mr. Hitchings's conclusion that manners are not in decline across the board is disappointing.

Read Full Review of Sorry!: The English and Their... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Reader Rating for Sorry!
62%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 13 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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