Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942: Reproduced from the original typescript, War Department, Washington, DC (Instructions for Servicemen)
I bought this book mainly as part of my living history impression of a World War II American paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Though it is educational from a historical point of view, and an excellent glimpse into the lives of the Americans that were in Britain in 1943-44 to prepare for the invasion of the continent, I personally didn't learn anything knew from it, just because I've been studying the war and wartime Great Britain for such a long time. It did, however, give me a firmer concept of how the American brass of the period thought of life in Great Britain, and of the how American were used to living. It also gives an idea of how American servicemen at the time thought of themselves and others, based on the way the book communicates its points.
It's also very amusing, as many reviewers have pointed out, and I imagine more amusing to current Brit readers than Americans. Unless an American reader is interested in history, I don't think they would understand a good portion of the content, and certainly not the importance of it. Without jets and the internet in those days, people in every country were more isolated then than we are now. Europeans had an advantage, because the countries are smaller (hence, easier to cross), and so many are so close together. They were/are more likely to have contact with people from other cultures. Americans didn't have that opportunity unless they were wealthy and could travel. Therefore, your average Joe from a mid-size city in the Midwest never considered the fact that English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh people had a culture that was very different from ours. I could go on and on about that, but that wouldn't be a review of this book if I did.
Suffice it to say that this was an important guide for us Yanks at the time, and it represents a surprising amount of awareness on the part of someone in the American military with a significant enough amount of influence to get this book created. It had to take a fair amount of observation to include everything that's in it. Before I traveled to London for the first (and so far only) time back in 2012, I made sure to look up a lot of things, especially the differences in our common language. That was eye-opening!
I was a little annoyed a couple of years after I bought this book to learn that it's not in the original format. I got a copy of an original, which is in paperback, and which I can bring to living history events without being guilty of having modern or modernized items. The contents of the original lists four more chapters than this version, and is 37 pages long, not 7. The 7-page printing must have been on full-size sheets. The booklet I have has 4 1/2" x 5" pages. I'll post a couple of images for you to see.