There is a long list of foreigners who have travelled across America and attempted to explain the United States to their European readers. The greatest of them all, Alexis de Tocqueville, observed the sensitivities of the inhabitants. ‘The Americans in their intercourse with strangers’, he wrote, ‘appear impatient of the smallest censure and insatiable of praise.’
Jonathan Freedland’s censures are small. His subtitle reveals his theme – how Britain can take back the American Dream: how the British, who helped invent America, can resurrect themselves by bringing back home the best of America, its inventiveness, its lack of class resentment, its openness to change and new ideas, and a political system which, according to Freedland, values the people’s voice in democracy.