If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes From Trump's America
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The central premise of Jon Sopel’s If Only They Didn’t Speak English is that Americans are a bit nutty and hard to understand for a Brit. An awful lot of words have been published as a result of the disastrous 2016 election and having read a decent chunk of them, I can say with confidence that these are some of the best.
It caused such a massive influx of prisoners, that the country heralded a special programme of prison building to cope with the extra demand for cells.You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.
A well written account of the things that Jon Sopel really likes about the USA which, thankfully, chimes perfectly with what I've found, travelling there for around ten years. Instead, Sopel thinks we are very, very different and those differences would be easier to see if we didn’t speak the same language. In reality however it proved to be that George Orwell was right when wrote as follows: “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.There are some fascinating comparisons between America, the UK and Europe and Sopel has weaved in entertaining and authentic anecdotes about his time living and working in Washington. In this chapter, Sopel looks at the ebola panic, the effect of an attack by a foreign enemy on the USA (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), the fear of Americans related to foreign travel (though he does mention the “intrepid” behaviour of a group of older Americans stranded at an airport), the Islamophobia promoted by various groups in the USA, and the relentless advertising for prescription drugs. He has covered the 2016 and 2020 elections and Trump's White House at first hand, reporting for the BBC across TV, radio and online.
If your government doesn't maintain the infrastructure, mend roads, bridges, railways, what are they for? To me, as a very infrequent visitor to America, the reality, for example, of the “open carry” gun rules, was a new insight. In this fascinating, insightful portrait of American life and politics, Jon sets out to answer our questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division and increasingly perverse beliefs. It helps us understand some of the entrenched cultural factors that make the US seem so different to the UK and reminds us not to think that because we speak broadly the same language, we’re the same.At its core this book is about what he has learnt from acting as the BBC's North America Editor for around five years, through turbulent times in US politics including the surfacing of Donald Trump, his campaign and his arrival in the White House as President.
In If Only They Didn’t Speak English Sopel examines the current state of the US and the way Americans see the world.
As an American living in Britain, I always look forward to BBC News Washington correspondent Jon Sopel's contributions to our nightly news, especially in these days of the head-spinning, jaw-dropping, I can't believe what I'm hearing disruption of the old certainties.