Voltaire wondered why British laws could not be planted in FRance, or even Serbia, like the precious seeds of coconut trees. Karl Marx thought the English were too stupid to start a revolution. Tom Brown's Schooldays inspired Baron de Coubertin's idea of the modern Olympic Games. Buruma intrduces his stunning book. 'Witty, acute, sardonic and learned. Simply the best guide there is to two centuries of tragi-comic misunderstanding between Britain and Europe.