Almost Everything, when you think about it, clearly boils down to Music, Education, Literature, Theatre, Art, and Food and Drink. Muir, a British TV personality and comic scriptwriter, has constructed a Social History of these six eternal verities out of the most disgruntled things that anyone who was anyone (and a great many who weren't) has ever had to say about them. Equipped with this admirable volume and your most casual William Buckley mutter, you will be able to point out the close affinity between Turner's Slave Ship and ""a tortoise-shell cat having a fit in a platter of tomatoes"" (Mark Twain), deplore English coffee as something ""like water that has been squeezed out of a wet sleeve"" (Fred Allen), announce with deft throwaway charm that ""Wagner's music is better than it sounds"" (Bill Nye), or explain to the less perceptive that a soon-to-be-dÃ‰modÃ‰ poet merely ""was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him GREAT"" (Dr. Johnson, of Gray). This do-it-yourself wrecking equipment is supplemented with a tasteful selection of historical information and misinformation that will enable you at a glance to identify the participants in the Byron-Shelley-Quarterly Review fracas or pinpoint the moment at which the use of the fork dawned on a loudly protesting Renaissance Europe. People buying this book should be cautioned that someone will probably steal it from them.