Much to my surprise however is how little these Brits knew about American history.
You can imagine my surprise when I mentioned Harriet Tubman in an email and was asked: "Who was Harriet Tubman?"
"What?" I said to my friend across the Atlantic. "You don't know who Harriet Tubman is?" It's funny that we Americans gobble up stories about King Henry VIII and his philandering, murderous antics, yet my Brit friend didn't know a stitch about one of the most famous heroines in American history.
"Did you know she risked her own life to bring slaves to freedom? That she started what is today our modern Hospice system? Housing aged-terminally ill freed slaves in her home and seeking donations from neighbors to help with their care?"
"Do you know who Mary Seacole is?" was his reply. (I didn't but that is not the point). The lack of interest in his country's former colony came to a head for me when we were working on ideas for promotional material on my book and I suggested the use of the term 'robber baron' to describe the ruthless New York City businessmen of the time period.
"It may confuse people in Europe." I was told. "What?" Yes indeed, so the term comes from the medieval times. It refers to the noblemen that acted less than noble by charging exorbitant tolls and tariffs on highway travel. Who would have known? Not me. That's not how I learned it in American History class back in High School. Robber barons were the Rockerfellers, the Vanderbilts and the Morgans. They bilked the masses out of their money while amassing their own fortunes. Right? If my high school teacher had told me that the term came from medieval times it went in one ear and out the other. I just remember the political cartoons. They left a lasting impression and I don't recall one Brit being depicted in them. (Although I have since learned that Carnegie was a Scotsman).