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About the book
  • Published: 16 July 2018
  • ISBN: 9781785942273
  • Imprint: BBC Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $22.99

If Only They Didn't Speak English

Notes From Trump's America


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The definitive book on the making of Trump's America from the BBC's North America Editor, Jon Sopel. Now updated with an exclusive new chapter.


'You see, if only they didn’t speak English in America, then we’d treat it as a foreign country – and probably understand it a lot better’

‘the sanest man in America’ – Bill Bryson
‘Jon Sopel nails it’ – Emily Maitlis

**With a brand new chapter, charting Trump's first year in power**

As the BBC’s North America Editor, Jon Sopel has had a pretty busy time of it lately. In the time it’s taken for a reality star to go from laughing stock to leader of the free world, Jon has travelled the length and breadth of the United States, experiencing it from a perspective that most of us could only dream of: he has flown aboard Air Force One, interviewed President Obama and has even been described as ‘a beauty’ by none other than Donald Trump.

Through music, film, literature, TV and even through the food we eat and the clothes that we wear we all have a highly developed sense of what America is and through our shared, tangled history we claim a special relationship. But America today feels about as alien a country as you could imagine. It is fearful, angry and impatient for change.

In this fascinating, insightful portrait of American life and politics, Jon Sopel sets out to answer our questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams, but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division and increasingly perverse beliefs.

  • Pub date: 16 July 2018
  • ISBN: 9781785942273
  • Imprint: BBC Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $22.99

About the Author

Jon Sopel

Jon Sopel has been the BBC’s North America Editor since 2014. He has covered the 2016 election and Trump's White House at first hand, reporting for the BBC across TV, radio, and online. As a member of the White House Press Corps, he has accompanied both President Obama and President Trump on Air Force One and interviewed President Obama at the White House. He has travelled extensively across the US and recently rode a Harley Davidson down the West Coast (that wasn't for work though). He lives in Washington and London.

He is the author of the If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes from Trump's America.

Also by Jon Sopel

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Praise for If Only They Didn't Speak English

“Jon Sopel may be the sanest man in America. He is certainly one of the most insightful … Immensely enjoyable”

Bill Bryson

“Jon Sopel nails it … If Only They Didn’t Speak English is an entertaining and enlightening stock take of how we got here.”

Emily Maitlis, Presenter, BBC Newsnight

“A wonderfully readable, perceptive account of what America looks like today through the eyes of a seasoned, informed but ultimately sympathetic observer. He addresses head-on such difficult questions as why it is America's most God-fearing opponents of abortion who are also the most passionate supporters of the gun lobby and the death penalty. He reminds us that President Trump's "America First" policy is nothing new – but that America made an invaluable contribution to Western Europe's defence of its liberty in two world wars. And he describes graphically how US Presidential politics became Reality TV in 2016, leaving us, rightly, with a deep sense of unease about the way fake facts and bare-faced lies, often encouraged by enemies of democracy abroad, now pose a real threat to the survival of our values and institutions. Read it alongside the late, great Lynne Olson's Citizens of London and J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy.”

Sir Peter Westmacott, Former British Ambassador to the United States

“Jon Sopel tries to explain the madness of Trump's America with an elegant sense of stoic bewilderment. Brilliant”

Emma Kennedy, Actress, Writer and Broadcaster


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