I'm A Stranger Here Myself

I'm A Stranger Here Myself

Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away

Large Print - 1999
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No issue shames the New Labor government elected in 1997 more that the systematic destruction of Britain's pensions system. When Labor came to power, some five million workers enjoyed "gold standard" defined benefit pensions—which paid them a percentage of final salaries—and Britain had the most robust system of private retirement provision in the world. That number has since collapsed to 1.6m, leaving millions of Britons facing an uncertain future and, in many cases, the grim choice of working until they drop or an impoverished old age. The past dreams of a cottage on the South Coast or wintering on the Med or in Florida have long gone. Award-winning journalist Alex Brummer goes behind the scenes to explain exactly what has been going on. What emerges is a shocking story of cynicism and inaction, in which a government bent on penny-pinching, a civil service cowed in to submission, and individuals more interested in their careers than public service have all taken a part in fatally undermining a 100-year-old system. It's also a story of breathtaking hypocrisy, where those in charge have feather-bedded their own pensions while destroying those of ordinary people. And, as Alex Brummer convincingly argues, we're only just starting to live with the appalling consequences.
Publisher: Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 1999
Edition: Large print ed. --
ISBN: 9780786220021
Branch Call Number: 973.92/BRY


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AL_LESLEY Jan 31, 2017

Bryson compiled a collection of newspaper columns into this hilarious and endearing book. Written in the mid 90s it's interesting to look back and see what has changed and even more so what hasn't changed at all.

Mar 14, 2016

This is a book that I've read ragged - by far and away my favorite Bryson book - and have to pause for laughing so hard each time. Wonderful observances of America (doubly so for me since I've visited England a few prolonged times) that will appeal to many, many readers. A light read and one that should definitely be checked out!

Feb 06, 2016

I found the book to be whiney and tedious. That may be because the book is whiney and tedious or maybe I have just lost my sense of humor.

Nov 17, 2015

Having been born in the States, then lived in England for 20 years and returned back home again Bryson gives us a series of very funny articles. These articles on American life were written for a newspaper are entertaining, often hilarious but now somewhat dated. Bryson is very often observant, and witty with a not so subtle sense of satire. The topics are varied as the vagaries of a computer, fast food, advertising, Christmas, litigation, trips to the seaside, the complexities of the tax system and more.
A sampling of his comments: on discussing dumb comments, he quotes Bob Dole who said " the campaign is about the future because that's where we're going." On basements he says there are "the third great feature of American life...because they are so amazingly, so spaciously, useless." For people who take two spaces in a parking lot, "I would welcome back capital punishment." Thanksgiving is the best holiday because "you don't have to give gift cards or send cards or do anything but eat until you look like a balloon." Of the 200 channels he gets on TV "you gradually realize the idea of TV here is simply to fill up the air with any old sludge". On all the conveniences in America " Americans have become so attached to the idea of convenience that they will put up with almost any inconvenience to achieve it". On Christmas, "why untangle the lights when you know they haven't a chance of working". On setting up his new computer: "If you have not yet acquired a degree in electrical engineering, now is the time to do it". Snowmobiling is " a rocket ship designed by Satan to run on snow."
Overall a very worthwhile easy to read funny book.

Jul 17, 2012

The perfect vacation book. Full of laugh-out-loud stories in bite-size pieces, so it's easy to read at whatever speed you wish to go.

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Jul 29, 2012

Red_Rabbit_102 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 17, 2012

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