For many years now, incivility has been in fashion. Not just in how we behave in public, but especially among social commentators, who see everyday boorishness as a symptom of larger maladies, such as the breakdown of community or moral decay. All sorts of damage are said to follow from our bad manners and disrespect toward others, ranging from crime and outbreaks of social violence to gridlock in government and lowered business productivity.

Now joining this chorus is the British writer and broadcaster Lynne Truss. As a sequel to her surprising bestseller, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, about growing carelessness for the rules of punctuation (another type of incivility), she has written a sharp-eyed and witty diatribe about rudeness in modern life, especially in her own country, where the problem is apparently so severe that Prime Minister Tony Blair has seen fit to propose a new government program to prevent it and foster greater...


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