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A. A. Gill

Gill is no exception with his boasts of drinking everyone under the table. But if Gill can be irritating, he is also enlightening, for along with his mannerisms he brings a keen intelligence to his subject. What makes this book singularly different is that it does not merely describe what America is but relates history to explain how it became that way.

He has longstanding family connections with America - as have millions the world over, for it is quintessentially the nation of immigrants. His title is taken from the famous lines: "Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door. He savages what he describes as the received wisdom of the Western middle classes that America is a stupid place with a convincing demonstration that it is anything but dumb.

He points out that those who accuse America of being fascist and reactionary often owe their nation's and their personal freedom to American intervention and their concepts of freedom, quality and civil rights to the same source. While an admirer, he is not blinded by America and he spends entertaining sections on those aspects of American life which most of us find so inexplicable.

There are terrific chapters on the American obsessions with guns, the electric chair, breasts, and the American dream.


  1. Sweet Surrender: When Having That One Thing ... Means Letting Go of Everything!
  2. The US of AA: admiring columnist Gill cultivates a special relationship;
  3. Book of Matches.
  4. Book Review – THE GOLDEN DOOR by A A Gill.

The sheer battiness of much American religion is given a good working-over and the extraordinary American excess in food is put into some historical context. For most of the world, including America itself, the US exists only on screen and Gill's take on the movies is, like the rest of the book, a lively and convincing analysis.


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    Two of the happiest times of his life were spent living in New York and the mountains of Kentucky. It was still a list of raw ingredients rather than the old stew of Europe. Now AA Gill takes another look at the America he knew in the Seventies, a place that seemed to hold promise, practical energy and a plan for the future. How did it become the political magnetic north against which the liberal intellectuals from the rest of the world set their opinions. Why is it so easily mocked, so comprehensively blamed, so thoughtlessly hated?

    The Golden Door | Film | The Guardian

    British readers need no introduction to Adrian Gill. His restaurant, television reviews and travel pieces are essential reading in The Sunday Times. In Australia we at least get a monthly column in Gourmet Traveller magazine about food, travel or both. But for those who are new to Gill, you need to know that in his writing he illuminates his subjects from surprising angles, is erudite, funny and precise and to my mind the best writer of English prose alive.

    He also seems to know just about every famous person. The family friend is the journalist and broadcaster, Alistair Cooke. He gave generations of British people a personal and authoritative perspective on America. Where were you when the plane hit the twin towers on 11 September ? But this book is about what happened between those two moments. The world's perception of America changed between those two waves.

    The golden door : letters to America, A.A. Gill

    AA Gill's book is about the things he's always found admirable and optimistic about the United States and its citizens. Two of the happiest times of his life were spent living in New York and the mountains of Kentucky. The contrast between the two couldn't have been more complicated and different. The America he found was contradictory and elusive, not the simpletons' place he'd been led to believe. It was still a list of raw ingredients rather than the old stew of Europe. Now AA Gill takes another look at the America he knew in the Seventies, a place that seemed to hold promise, practical energy and a plan for the future.

    Book Review: The Golden Door

    How did it become the political magnetic north against which the liberal intellectuals from the rest of the world set their opinions. Why is it so easily mocked, so comprehensively blamed, so thoughtlessly hated? The book is a collection of linked essays based around places that will open up truths and mythologies about America and Americans.

    The theme of his journey will be searching for 'the home of'. Every other small town in America boasts on its Welcome sign that it is the home of something or other.