Mark Easton’s Britain Etc. looks at the UK through its relationship to 26 subjects — one for each letter of the alphabet. From Alcohol, Beat Bobbies, Cheese and Dogs through Immigration, Justice, Knives and Murder to the Queen, Umbrellas, Vegetables and the Zzzz of a well-deserved rest, the book’s meticulously researched but accessible essays map the back-story of contemporary Britain. With each lettered chapter, the reader is invited to look at the United Kingdom in a new way: standing back to see our small islands in a global or historical context, and then diving down to scrutinise vital details that may be overlooked. Taken together, the essays reveal a Britain that cannot be seen through the prism of daily news or current affairs. A park, a wedding, a beggar and a carrot all take on new significance once you have read Britain Etc. As the UK welcomes millions of visitors to its shores for the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, this is a book that offers insight into the psyche of Britain; a nation’s obsessions, prejudices, values and idiosyncrasies. What sort of place is it, what are the natives like, and how did we get to where we are?