The Crimes of England is a series of essays written during the
Great War that highlight, in Chesterton's learned and generally
witty opinion, the failings of his country. The collection opens
with a letter to Professor Whirlwind, a German whose name 'is too
much for me', and who has been writing articles attacking England
in the newspapers of the day. Chesterton savagely and cleverly
whittles the Professor down to a very small nub indeed, and then he
goes on to highlight his own problems with England. His criticism
of the German soul and the English failings in (then) recent times
are juxtaposed to great effect. Chesterton ends his essays with a
plea to his fellow Englishmen not to avoid criticising their nation
but to embrace it. He writes, "I have passed the great part of my
life in criticising and condemning the existing rulers and
institutions of my country: I think it is infinitely the most
patriotic thing that a man can do."
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