How Not to Be American: Misadventures in the Land of the Free

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American expatriate Todd McEwen has a lot to say about his former home, and very little of it is pleasant. From the sprawl of mini-malls to the new American uniform of t-shirts, shorts and sneakers, McEwen has been tracking the decline of American values and style for decades now, and he shares his insights in How Not to Be American.

Now, don’t write this off as rabid America bashing, because it’s obvious he wishes the America he sees matched up with the America he envisions. There’s a sense of disappointment that tempers his writing, even when his disdain is shoutingly obvious. His writing is incisive, scathingly so, but he has plenty of worthwhile points to make about commercialism, politics, and ambition.

Unfortunately, the unmistakable hint of snobbiness at the outset taints the reading experience in the long run. By the time he gets into shorter, more engaging pieces sharing his deep appreciation and interest in a given subject (bluegrass, for instance), it’s difficult to shake off the negativity of the earlier pieces.

How Not to Be American has a lot to say, but I suspect the way it’s said will hamper McEwen’s chances of sharing his fair points with others.

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Star Count 2.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Aurum Press Ltd
Publish Date 2014-Jan-15
ISBN 9781781312353 Buy this Book
Issue February 2014
Category Humor-Nonfiction


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