In 1946, Hungarian-born journalist George Mikes published How to Be an Alien
, an (unintentionally) humorous take on the nuances of life in England, his adopted home. It proved a surprise bestseller, amusing many, offending a few, and inspiring a pair of follow-ups: How to Be Inimitable
and How to Be Decadent
. All three of Mikes's droll essays are collected in How to Be a Brit
, offering insight for British newcomers— and chuckles for those already in the know—about such key topics as queuing ("the national passion of an otherwise dispassionate race"
), urban planning ("a vast conspiracy to mislead foreigners"
), class ("as soon as a man opens his mouth, we can tell in what sort of school he missed his education"
), sex ("Continental people have sex life; the English have hot-water bottles"
), and more. Some of Mikes's mid-century observations have aged better than others, but they all stand an excellent chance of tickling the funny bones of Anglophiles and homesick British expats! (KG)