The Angry Island by A.A. Gill
Hunting the English

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Think of England, and anger hardly springs to mind as its primary national characteristic. Yet in The Angry Island, A. A. Gill argues that, in fact, it is plain old fury that is the wellspring for England's accomplishments.

The default setting of England is anger. The English are naturally, congenitally, collectively and singularly livid much of the time. They're incensed, incandescent, splenetic, prickly, touchy, and fractious. They can be mildly annoyed, really annoyed and, most scarily, not remotely annoyed. They sit apart on their half of a damply disappointing little island, nursing and picking at their irritations. The English itch inside their own skins. They feel foreign in their own country and run naked through their own heads.

Perhaps aware that they're living on top of a keg of fulminating fury, the English have, throughout their history, come up with hundreds of ingenious and bizarre ways to diffuse anger or transform it into something benign. Good manners and queues, cul-de-sacs and garden sheds, and almost every game ever invented from tennis to bridge. They've built things, discovered stuff, made puddings, written hymns and novels, and for people who don't like to talk much, they have come up with the most minutely nuanced and replete language ever spoken -- just so there'll be no misunderstandings.

The Angry Island by turns attacks and praises the English, bringing up numerous points of debate for Anglophiles and anyone who wonders about the origins of national identity. This book hunts down the causes and the results of being the Angry Island.

About A.A. Gill

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A.A. Gill was born in Edinburgh, but has lived in London for most of his life. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.
Published June 12, 2007 by Simon & Schuster. 242 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The baffled couple couldn’t figure out why he was apologizing, and the comedy of errors that ensued ultimately led to Gill apologizing for his apology—he claims there’s nothing the English like less than being apologized to for no apparent reason.

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The New York Times

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In this curmudgeonly but very droll volume, he has lavish praise for the glories of English — “the most successful language that hurdled teeth” with “more ways of saying more things than any other language,” a language “as new as the most recent refugee,” a “brilliant, invisible river that flows ...

Jul 17 2007 | Read Full Review of The Angry Island: Hunting the...

Deseret News

In a nutshell: In a witty, fun look at the English, journalist and critic A.A.

Jun 24 2007 | Read Full Review of The Angry Island: Hunting the...

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