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English

A Story of Marmite, Queuing and Weather
By: Ben Fogle
Narrated by: Rupert Farley
Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Summary

What makes the English English? Is it their eccentricity, their passionate love (or, indeed, hatred) of Marmite - or is it something less easily defined?

Beginning at the top of a muddy Gloucestershire slope at the Cooper's Hill cheese-rolling contest and traversing a landscape of lawns and queues, coastlines and sporting arenas, Ben Fogle takes us on a journey through the peculiarly English: a country of wax jackets, cricket, boat races and jellied eels, by way of national treasures such as the shipping forecast, fish and chips and the Wellington boot. Not to mention the Dunkirk spirit of relentless optimism in the face of adversity, be it the heroic failure of Captain Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition or simply the perennial hope for better weather.

The archetypal Englishman - lover of Labradors and Land Rovers yet holder of two passports - Ben applauds all things quintessentially English while also paying tribute to the history, culture and ideas adopted with such gusto that they have become part of the fabric of the country. Written with Ben's trademark warmth and wit, this is a lighthearted yet touching tribute to all things English.

©2017 Ben Fogle (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Funny, entertaining and really rather inspiring, too." ( Daily Mail)
"A great escapade told with refreshing frankness." ( The Independent on Sunday)
"Passionate and well-researched." ( Tatler)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

enjoyed fully

really enjoyed this book its well worth the listen Ben has explored ENGLISHNESS brilliantly and everything is relatable

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Extraordinarily boring book

Being a dedicated fan of Ben Fogle and his TV programmes my expectations were very high when I downloaded this audio book onto my device. After the fourth chapter the narrator and the content of the book had already bored me senseless. A whole chapter goeing on about the english fascination for the weather was as interesting as watching paint dry. A waste of time and money. Stick to television Ben.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

This book should be entitled “Upper Class English” and devoted far too much time to how things used to be when class was everything in England. The author quotes at such length from elsewhere that you wonder why you didn’t just buy those books instead. And for me, he gets the difference between nationalism and the flag completely the wrong way around: it is the Union flag that has become associated with the far right and not the Cross of St George!

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie
  • 03-11-17

Not quite what I hoped for.

First I’ll start with the good point: the narration was great. I always like listening to the English accent. Now for the book, I must say it was a bit of a letdown. The umbrella on the cover pretty much says it all. A huge part of the book talks weather and you can really only listen to so much of that before it gets old. The rest of the book was so-so. I would’ve liked there to be a bit more humor. There were a few attempts at it , but nothing to write home about. Just so-so.