The English: a portrait of a people

Front Cover
Overlook Press, 1998 - History - 308 pages
25 Reviews
Not so long ago, everybody knew who the English were. They were "polite, unexcitable, reserved, and had hot-water bottles instead of a sex life". As the dominant culture in a country that dominated an empire that dominated the world, they had little need to examine themselves and ask who they were. But something has happened.

A new self-confidence seems to have taken hold in Wales and Scotland, while many try to forge a new relationship with Europe. The English are being forced to ask what it is that makes them who they are. Is there such a thing as an English race? What inviolable English traits remain to win the affection of Anglophiles, raise the ire of Anglo-critics, and pique the curiosity of Anglo-watchers here and abroad?

Witty, surprising, affectionate, and incisive, The English traces the invention of Englishness to its current crisis and concludes that, for all their characteristic gloom about themselves, the English may have developed a form of nationalism for the twenty-first century.

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Review: The English: A Portrait of a People

User Review  - Denis - Goodreads

The sneering tone of the BBC interviewer sits behind the prose, but so does plenty of scholarship. Although first published in 1998, it's a timely read since the right-wing UK Independence Party is in ... Read full review

Review: The English: A Portrait of a People

User Review  - Margaret - Goodreads

A bit snarky Read full review


Funny Foreigners
The English Empire
True Born Englishmen and Other Lies

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About the author (1998)

Jeremy Paxman is a journalist, best known for his work presenting BBC's "Newsnight" and "University Challenge," His books include "Friends in High Places," "The English" and "The Political Animal," He lives in Oxfordshire, England.

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