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By Thomas Sowell

Presents new insights into the historical past, sociology, and psychology of ethnic-minority existence.

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Tradition, not surprisingly, was one of the first and greatest casualties of the American experience. What had always worked in Europe, the tried and true, often did not work in America or was simply irrelevant. Americans faced circumstances and problems Europeans had never encountered (the New World, Howard Jones writes, “was so incredibly filled with unpredictabilities, one wonders how the Europeans survived” [1968, 391]) and for which the European experience had no prescriptions of any kind, new or old.

AMANDA: Neither am I. 8. Calling a Cab ANN: Wow! It’s 8:30. This was above and beyond the call of duty, I’d say. ROWAN: All in a day’s work, isn’t it? ANN: A very long day. ROWAN: Doesn’t happen that often anyway. ANN: Our cab should be downstairs in 5 minutes. What do you say we charge it to the company? ROWAN: You called a cab? Americans and the British 9. Office Mates ROGER: What’s with Blanchard? JULIA: He’s not himself, is he? I don’t really know. ROGER: You must know him pretty well, after all the time you’ve worked here together.

The British find each other direct enough, even blunt in some cases, and while they can certainly be indirect according to their own standards, true British indirectness would no doubt go unremarked by the average Yank. By the same token, Americans have their version of indirect and subtle, though it wouldn’t strike the British that way; real American directness would probably empty most British drawing rooms. 5. Dropping By “They’re so forward,” a British woman says of Americans in Bill Bryson’s delightful book, Notes from a Small Island: You’ve only to chat with a stranger for five minutes and they think you’ve become friends.

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