One semi-tropical Fourth of July, Joe Queenan's English wife suggested that the family might like a chicken vindaloo in lieu of the customary barbecue. It was this pitiless act of gastronomic cultural oppression that inspired the author to make a solitary pilgrimage to Great Britain. Queenan decided that he would not come back from Albion until he had finally figured out what made the British tick. Crisscrossing Old Blighty, Queenan finally came to terms with the choochiness, squiffiness, ponciness and sticky wicketness that lies at the heart of the British character. Here he is trying to find out whose idea it was to impale King Edward II on a red-hot poker -- and what this says about English sexual politics. Here he is in an Edinburgh pub foolishly trying to defend Paul McCartney's "Ebony and Ivory" while "The Mull of Kintire" blares away on the TV. And here he is, trapped in a concert hall with a Coventry-based all-Brit Eagles Tribute Band named Talon who resent that they are nowhere near as famous as their evil nemeses, the Illegal Eagles. At the end of his epic adventure, the author returns chastened, wiser and happier, encouraged that his wife is as sane as she is, all things considered.
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