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.
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