Whilst on a recent visit to Jersey I felt the urge to go into Waterstones and buy a few History books. As I was checking out the British History shelf one book in particular caught my eye. It was a small hardback book with a very attractive spine, and I must say I am one of those people who is attracted to a book if it has a nice cover, and so I picked it up. The book in question is by Steven A. Grasse and is called 'The Evil Empire-101 ways that England Ruined the World'.
Now I'm am not one of those single minded British folk who mourn the loss of our 'great' empire, but I was dubious about this book because I knew right from the start that it would just be an excuse to trample on the English, after all it is called 101 ways that England ruined the world. However, I thought I would give this book the benefit of the doubt as it did look quite interesting, and so paid the £10 that it cost (I also bought two other books so the total cost that visit to Waterstones was over £40).
The book, as I mentioned earlier, is written by Steven A. Grasse who is an American business man who has apparently done everything, including directing films, apart from climb Mount Everest. Grasse starts off by declaring that he wants to "love all of the United Kingdom" but can not because he has become sick of the British telling him that "America is responsible for ruining the World". Fair enough. So Grasse has taken it upon himself to write how it is England not America who is responsible for ruining the World.
Overall, this book was quite amusing, in places, and rather annoying in others. As a typical American Grasse talks about how the English have really bad teeth, and that at 5 o'clock everyday without fail we take to our parlours and drink tea and eat cakes until we toddle off to bed. This was expected given the nature of the book. However, one thing that really gets my goat is people confusing 'England' with 'Britain' thinking that both words mean the same thing, and this is exactly what Grasse does all the way through his book, even though in a chapter called 'Their Country has too many Flags and too Many Names' he acknowledges that these two words get used "as though they were...synonymous", and yet carries on doing it himself.
After 101 tedious chapters of Grasse going through the ways that England has 'ruined' the world he asks the reader to sign a petition that declares Britain should pay £31,960,000,000,000 to the world in reparations for all the wrong doings that have been committed, and the final page of the book has even been given over to an invoice detailing where Britain owes this sum. I will not be signing this petition and frankly I would like to make my own invoice for £10 and send it to Mr. Steven A. Grasse and claim back what I paid for his pointless book!
Verdict: Read this book if there is literally no other book available to read.