I was prepared to be amazed by the breadth of understanding and learned tone, covering 5 large countries in comparatively few pages, until I had to add this book's record manually and saw the publication date.
I'm not saying its source is Wikipedia, since it's far more concise than Wikipedia, but its breadth as a foreign publication is slightly less impressive now that it seems that it was written far after the end of the Soviet Union.
The writer, a Russian? woman? based on the name, has a tight control of pertinent information and novelty, even if she? spends the least amount of time on the U.S.A.
Trivia that seemed the most interesting:
-- The Native Americans who sold Manhattan for a bundle of beads had no claim on it themselves and thought they'd made just as much of a bargain.
-- Wall Street was named after a wall that existed there to protect the Dutch settlement.
-- Las Vegas was named after the only oasis of green found on the land.
-- The Puritans were Protestants who wanted to rid Protestanstitism of all vestiges of Catholicism, and they helped sparked a civil war deposing the British king before finally being driven out to America themselves.
-- The term "Hippies" refers to the fact that drugtakers in Asia would lie on one hip while taking Opium
-- N. America is generally colder than Europe
-- 1/6 of Americans will be over 65 by 2020
-- Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world
-- Canada appears to have a relatively low population of secondary school and university educated people compared to the U.S.
-- Something like 40% of Canadian companies are US-owned.
-- Grizzly bears can't climb trees.
-- The UK had to move their overcrowded prisons to Australia shortly after they lost America to revolution. Just how punishing a society was 18th-century England, anyway?
-- The UK has no written constitution
-- UK Parliament gets 17 weeks of vacation a year
-- The word "Tories" is an Irish word for "thieves"
-- Brits typically don't sign Valentine's Day cards
-- New Year's "First Footing" tradition in UK
-- Pancake races while flipping pancakes in pan, UK
-- The dummy on Guy Fawkes Night is called a "guy"
-- The kilt did not become popular until the beginning of the 18th century.
-- Central and Western Australia weren't explored by Brits for some 50 years after the first penal colonies established in New South Wales, and most of the explorers going east to west or north to south seemed some of the least fleet of foot and brain in their failures to do so.