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Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942

Reproduced from the original typescript, War Department, Washington, DC

In 1942, the United States War Department distributed a handbook to American servicemen that advised them on the peculiarities of the "British, their country, and their ways." Over sixty years later, this newly published reproduction from the rich archives of the Bodleian Library offers a fascinating glimpse into American military preparations for World War II.

The guide was intended to alleviate the culture shock for soldiers taking their first trip to Great Britain, or, for that matter, abroad. The handbook is punctuated with endearingly nostalgic advice and refreshingly candid quips such as: "The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea. It’s an even swap." By turns hilarious and poignant, many observations featured in the handbook remain relevant even today.

Reproduced in a style reminiscent of the era, Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain is a powerfully evocative war-time memento that offers a unique perspective on the longstanding American-British relationship and reveals amusingly incisive American perceptions of the British character and country.

31 pages | 4 1/2 x 6 | © 2004

History: American History, British and Irish History, Military History


Reviews

"as much a guide to the American psyche, as to the British... The guide’s apparant simplicity belies its complexity. It deserves to be a set text in schools and universities, and should be compulsory reading for all philologists." --Eluned Price, The Daily Telegraph

Eluned Price | The Daily Telegraph

"A book warning US soldiers about British pecularities has become a surprise bestseller -- 60 years after it was first published."

Sunday Express

"Its tips may be based on the stereotypical -- and probably mythical -- Englishman, but they seem to ring true and are delivered with surprising wit. . . . a real gem."

Armchair General

Table of Contents

Foreword by John Pinfold

Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, issued by the War Department, Washington, D.C., 1942
    Introduction
    The Country
    The People—Their Customs and Manners
    Britain at War
    English Versus American Language
    Some Important Do’s and Don’ts
    Table of British currency

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