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With its distinctive history of civil liberties and the delicate balance between social order and the free pursuit of self-interest, England has always fascinated its continental neighbours. Buruma examines the history of ideas of Englishness and what Europeans have admired (or loathed) in England across the centuries. Voltaire wondered why British laws could not be transplanted into France, or even to Serbia; Karl Marx thought the English were too stupid to start a revolution; Goethe worshipped Shakespeare; and, the Kaiser was convinced that Britain was run by Jews. Combining the stories of European Anglophiles and Anglophobes with memories of his own Anglo-Dutch-German-Jewish family, this utterly original book illuminates the relationship between Britain and Europe, revealing how Englishness - and others' views of it - have shaped modern European history.