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True Brits: A Tour of Britain In All Its Bog-Snorkeling, Shin-Kicking and Cheese-Rolling Glory

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When JR Daeschner first witnessed cheese rolling, he was astounded. As an American who had lived in the UK for years, he knew the British could be a bit eccentric. However, nothing could prepare him for the sight of men-and women-flinging themselves off a grassy cliff in pursuit of a cheese. He soon realized that Britain has dozens of seemingly lunatic acts enshrined as tr When JR Daeschner first witnessed cheese rolling, he was astounded. As an American who had lived in the UK for years, he knew the British could be a bit eccentric. However, nothing could prepare him for the sight of men-and women-flinging themselves off a grassy cliff in pursuit of a cheese. He soon realized that Britain has dozens of seemingly lunatic acts enshrined as traditions: events with strange names like gurning, shin kicking, horn dancing, and faggot cutting. True Brits is the hilarious account of JR's trek around England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as a bit of Northern Ireland in London's backyard. From "Darkie Day" and the English summer "Olimpicks" to Pope burning on Bonfire Night, JR uncovers the people and places that make Britain great ... and at times, not so great. In his quest to find out why the British do such extraordinary things, JR talks to countless characters, catches them in action, and even takes part in the events himself. Along the way, he discovers that these ancient pastimes provide surprising insights into 21st-century Britain-as well as America.


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When JR Daeschner first witnessed cheese rolling, he was astounded. As an American who had lived in the UK for years, he knew the British could be a bit eccentric. However, nothing could prepare him for the sight of men-and women-flinging themselves off a grassy cliff in pursuit of a cheese. He soon realized that Britain has dozens of seemingly lunatic acts enshrined as tr When JR Daeschner first witnessed cheese rolling, he was astounded. As an American who had lived in the UK for years, he knew the British could be a bit eccentric. However, nothing could prepare him for the sight of men-and women-flinging themselves off a grassy cliff in pursuit of a cheese. He soon realized that Britain has dozens of seemingly lunatic acts enshrined as traditions: events with strange names like gurning, shin kicking, horn dancing, and faggot cutting. True Brits is the hilarious account of JR's trek around England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as a bit of Northern Ireland in London's backyard. From "Darkie Day" and the English summer "Olimpicks" to Pope burning on Bonfire Night, JR uncovers the people and places that make Britain great ... and at times, not so great. In his quest to find out why the British do such extraordinary things, JR talks to countless characters, catches them in action, and even takes part in the events himself. Along the way, he discovers that these ancient pastimes provide surprising insights into 21st-century Britain-as well as America.

30 review for True Brits: A Tour of Britain In All Its Bog-Snorkeling, Shin-Kicking and Cheese-Rolling Glory

  1. 5 out of 5

    G. Lawrence

    Good fun, quite amusing. An account of some of the stranger traditions of the UK, some events I found more engaging than others, and one, quite frankly a bit appalling

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jo Joy Holly

    Dates are in my calendar 🗓. Cheese-rolling done! What's next, that isn't CANCELLED because of Covid OR abolished because of regulation OR banned as too controversial. I like a bit of history, story and character to an event. PLEASE CAN WE STOP SANITISING EVERYTHING... A little dirt, grit and wit makes for entertainment. Or, we can just start handing out the overalls and become ROBOTS 🤖 Dates are in my calendar 🗓. Cheese-rolling done! What's next, that isn't CANCELLED because of Covid OR abolished because of regulation OR banned as too controversial. I like a bit of history, story and character to an event. PLEASE CAN WE STOP SANITISING EVERYTHING... A little dirt, grit and wit makes for entertainment. Or, we can just start handing out the overalls and become ROBOTS 🤖

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This would make a great TV show (which I think it actually was/is??) but reading about the events just didn't keep my attention. This would make a great TV show (which I think it actually was/is??) but reading about the events just didn't keep my attention.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brian Richards

    Those crazy Brits!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katrin

    This was a pretty entertaining book and it reminded me why I love the Brits for their craziness ^^ Daeschner explains customs and traditions in depth, so he must have cut down the selection to the 10 favourites he chose (truly understandable, since he travelled to all the mentioned places, took part in everything and spoke to the locals etc. you can hardly do this with 30 customs a year or so ^^) His style is surprising, though. He explains the history, showing that he researched well, but then This was a pretty entertaining book and it reminded me why I love the Brits for their craziness ^^ Daeschner explains customs and traditions in depth, so he must have cut down the selection to the 10 favourites he chose (truly understandable, since he travelled to all the mentioned places, took part in everything and spoke to the locals etc. you can hardly do this with 30 customs a year or so ^^) His style is surprising, though. He explains the history, showing that he researched well, but then also gives word-for-word accounts from the locals, narrowing the view again. This was an easy read, although sometimes a bit dragging along. One tradition is explained and discussed in about 30-40 pages, and that is a lot. I personally would have loved a map with all the places he's been to as well as a calender with the events. Still I would recommend this to everyone interested in traditions and the Brits, who hold on to the traditions, if only (as it seems) for a reason to get absolutely wasted ^^

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book was a total sprint, not a marathon. Every chapter just ran ran ran and I couldn't relax until I got to the end, which I hate. Half the chapters would start at one end and end up totally somewhere else and then start again. This book was about strange customs that are held in small towns around the UK. A history lesson was in each section as well as a recap of one year and then the same the following year when the author returned. Kind of interesting and even though I love England and al This book was a total sprint, not a marathon. Every chapter just ran ran ran and I couldn't relax until I got to the end, which I hate. Half the chapters would start at one end and end up totally somewhere else and then start again. This book was about strange customs that are held in small towns around the UK. A history lesson was in each section as well as a recap of one year and then the same the following year when the author returned. Kind of interesting and even though I love England and all the culture, maybe there was too much or it was too pushed on the writing, even though the author was American. That may have been a problem. Or that I just didn't care about the stuff he wrote about, which I am finding more common and frustrating in travel writing. Maybe I just need to travel some more. This has been a pretty dead year for me. Grade: N/A

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    If you saw the TV programme about the two British guys (Rory & someone ! ) going around the British Isles taking part in silly traditional sports, you'll get a touch of déjà vu reading this book. And the parts where the author actually gets involved and takes part are fascinating and enjoyable. But unfortunately, especially towards the end, there are too many times when he seems to stand back, set himself apart and look down with a really patronising and condescending attitude that ended up real If you saw the TV programme about the two British guys (Rory & someone ! ) going around the British Isles taking part in silly traditional sports, you'll get a touch of déjà vu reading this book. And the parts where the author actually gets involved and takes part are fascinating and enjoyable. But unfortunately, especially towards the end, there are too many times when he seems to stand back, set himself apart and look down with a really patronising and condescending attitude that ended up really annoying me. It's a shame, I was expecting better !

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rozanne

    I saw this on the shelf at the libe and picked it up as a stop-gap. I read a couple of chapters and found them moderately entertaining (the phenomenon of the Burry Man and the Cheese chasing contest), but I didn't seem much else to interest me. The author's a decent writer, but he's def. no Bill Bryson. I saw this on the shelf at the libe and picked it up as a stop-gap. I read a couple of chapters and found them moderately entertaining (the phenomenon of the Burry Man and the Cheese chasing contest), but I didn't seem much else to interest me. The author's a decent writer, but he's def. no Bill Bryson.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Morley

    I quite enjoyed this book though it seemed a little too intent on poking fun at those crazy Brits and their funny ways. It does have a chapter on my home town of Lewes and its bonfire night tradition of burning the Pope. Well, doesn't everyone do that? I quite enjoyed this book though it seemed a little too intent on poking fun at those crazy Brits and their funny ways. It does have a chapter on my home town of Lewes and its bonfire night tradition of burning the Pope. Well, doesn't everyone do that?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    entertaining...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    If there was a 3.5, I'd give it to this one. Amusing and interting stories about "strange" British customs he not only researched, but participated in. If there was a 3.5, I'd give it to this one. Amusing and interting stories about "strange" British customs he not only researched, but participated in.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Very entertaining.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deb

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam Stevenson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brad

  18. 5 out of 5

    Simeon

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Sevnine

  20. 4 out of 5

    joe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris Johnson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  23. 4 out of 5

    Britta

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rf123

  25. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Disa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Timbo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

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