J.R. Daeschner knows more than a little something about participatory journalism. In True Brits: A Tour of 21st Century Britain in All Its Bog-Snorkelling, Gurning and Cheese-Rolling Glory, he travels the United Kingdom in search of all things eccentric and extraordinary. With little regard to safety or sanity, Daeschner squares off for a shin-kicking contest in the Cotswolds and snorkels bravely through the murky muck and cold of a Welsh bog. He makes his way to every village festival and small-town celebration he can, knowing that such events survive "because they reinforce a sense of identity, community, and continuity." More importantly, he understands that "people take an inordinate pride in the local idiosyncrasies that distinguish them from a thousand other places: they're proud to be peculiar." In Daeschner's world, this is certainly cause for celebration.

LACEY GALBRAITH

 

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