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Here is England

Review By Cheryl Bolen

Here is England
Elizabeth Burton
Ariel Books (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
New York, 1965
210 pages

The front dust jacket of this book bills itself "An informal introduction to a great country, written especially for American readers."

Even though this was first published in 1965, it isnít really that dated.

The book is divided into the following chapters: Celts, Romans, Countrymen; Small and Wet; Saints, Kings and a Stone; London and "the City"; Other Cities; Workshop England; Picking Up Loose Threads; Park-like England; Civil Wars and a "Glorious Revolution" and Constitutional Monarchy; Parliament and How it Works; From Canterbury to Conventry; and Current Events.

At the end of the book is an appendix of British monarchs from the year 827 A.D.

Burtonís tone is that of a kindly middle-grade school teacher.

The best chapter in the book is the one on how Parliament works. It is full of interesting tidbits, such as:

The Speakerís [of the House of Commons] most severe disciplinary measure against a Member of Parliament is to "name" him. That is, he refers to him by name Ė as Mr. Brown, Mr. Jones, Mr. Smith or whatever the Memberís name is Ė instead of referring to him, as is usual, as "the Right Honorable Member for Xtown" or whatever his constituency is.

Burton also points out that M.P.s donít "run" for office as they do in the U.S.; they "stand" for office.

To find out other idiom, customs, and history, Here Is England is an invaluable source.


This article was first published in
The Quizzing Glass in December 2007.


 

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