In the middle of the 1800s, Mrs Favell Lee Mortimer set out to write an ambitious guide to all the nations on Earth. There were just three problems:
She had never set foot outside Shropshire. She was horribly misinformed about virtually every topic she turned her attention to. And she was prejudiced against foreigners.
The result was an unintentionally hilarious masterpiece: 'The French like being smart but are not very clean.' 'The Japanese are very polite people - much politer than the Chinese - but very proud.' 'The Scotch will not take much trouble to please strangers.'
In The Clumsiest People in Europe, Todd Pruzan has gathered together a selection of Mrs Mortimer's finest moments, celebrating the woman who turned ignorance into an art form.