Speak the Culture: Britain


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Edition 1, Paperback , 312 pages
ISBN (10): 1 85418 627 2; (13): 978 185418627 0
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Few nations rival the rich history, artistic achievement and contemporary verve of Britain. But who are the British? What does it mean to be British and is there such a thing as British culture? There has never been a time when the question has occasioned so much debate.

Speak the Culture: Britain peels back the layers of this rich and complex heritage, exploring the factors – historical, political, cultural, artistic – that make the British tick.

British culture is strewn with names that strike a chord the world over: Shakespeare, Churchill, Dickens, Pinter, Hitchcock, Vivienne Westwood, Lennon and McCartney … Speak the Culture: Britain examines the people, the history and the movements that have shaped Britain as it now is, providing key information in easily digested, entertaining chunks.

It also reveals the culture of everyday life, exploring variations between the English, Scots and Welsh, and dissecting their approach to life: how they eat, socialise, vote, dress and laugh.

Who should read this book?

Everyone who seriously wants to understand what it really feels like to be British and to explore the concept of Britishness in the 21st century: Britains, new residents, business travellers, tourists, holiday-makers, students, lovers of Britain everywhere.

Future titles

USA, Italy, China, India


1. Identity
2. Literature
3. Philosophy
4. Art & Architecture
5. Performing Arts
6. Cinema, Photography and Fashion
7. Media communications
8. Food & Drink
9 Living culture: the state of the nation


Telegraph July 2011

‘The Speak the Culture series … is the best cribsheet for the curious we have seen….’

‘Speak the Culture: Spain (Thorogood) is a tapas menu of a primer, with bite-size chunks on everything from the prehistoric cave paintings of Altamira to the films of Pedro Almodóvar…’

“Visitors and locals alike will enjoy these key facts, insights and anecdotes about Britain and what makes it tick.”

Britain Magazine

“This is an excellent book and very amusing in places. It is packed with facts and could stand alongside your English dictionary to provide a starting point for any researchon Brits. I still think I have a lot to learn.”

Rob Jerrard – Book reviews at www.rjerrad.co.uk

“Speak the Culture – a new set of travel guides which aim to give you a working knowledge of the indefinable gestalt of a country – look rather good on the basis of a casual browse, offering an informal introduction to the philosophy, food and artistic preconceptions of various European countries. As always with foreign guides, though, the only way you can really calibrate their approach is by looking at how they cover a culture you’re already fluent in. There are some very nice touches in the British volume – including an illustration of the safe gaze-range while looking at passengers opposite you on the Tube (anywhere between shoelaces and mid-chest is OK) and the recommendation that visitors check out the website of nicecupofteaandasitdown – a deep-end immersion in the British love of the biscuit. Where I found myself quibbling were the lists. “Three contemporary playwrights worth watching” offered Patrick Marber, Georgia Fitch and Roy Williams. Wouldn’t Jez Butterworth or Gregory Burke have a claim to a place? And what about “Five great 21st-century British films”? They offer Enduring Love, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, This is England, Hunger and Slumdog Millionaire. This isn’t really a quibble about the books, incidentally, since such lists exist only to be disagreed with. But it does suggest you might take the French and Spanish equivalents as the opening for a conversation, rather than the last word.”

Tom Sutcliffe – The Independent

The author

Andrew Whittaker is a successful journalist and writer who has traveled widely, and written extensively on France and the Mediterranean countries. Speak the Culture: Britain, is his third book in the series.

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