But his return was marked by a major culture shock - the drunkenness of the British.
Webb is amazed at the difference between drunk Britain and sober America and detests the fact that drunkenness is an almost everyday occurrence troughout Britain - he was amazed by the fact that on a train journey from Oxford to London the full hour was taken up by a group of people discussing the various ways in which they had been sick after drinking too much.
This is in stark comparison to the time when he was invited to a party by a very senior and well-known CNN correspondent in Washington. Expecting the red liquid that the guests were drinking to be alcoholic punch, it turned out to be nothing but cherryade! To British eyes this seems babyish. Such an event in the UK would see the guests drinking all sorts of alcoholic beverages.
But drunkenness and its associated problems are nothing new in Britain. In the 1750s, at the height of Britain's Gin Craze, British painter Hogarth created a series of remarkable pictures showing the effects on London's streets that that cheap drink had.
How would Mr Webb prefer things to be? A halfway house between US soberness and British drunkenness
After a decade in sober America ... is everyone in Britain drunk?
8th July 2010
By Justin Webb
Justin Webb was the BBC's chief Washington correspondent, returning last summer to present the Today programme on Radio Four.
When I came home from America a year ago from my post as the BBC's North America correspondent, I wasn't expecting life in Britain to be easy to get used to again.
I knew that valet parking - handing your keys to a man outside a restaurant and getting the car driven to the door when you leave - would soon be a distant memory.
I knew that Downing Street was as shabby as the White House is chic.
Public drunkenness: A reveller sleeps across several train seats after a night spent out on the lash in London
But nothing prepared me for the booze. Sometimes it seems as if everyone here is drunk.
Now here I should add an important proviso: perhaps it is me that has changed, not my country. When I lived here before leaving for the U.S. it is possible, I suppose, that everyone was drunk, but I didn't notice.
But live in Washington DC for the best part of ten years and it becomes the most striking feature of the return across the pond: America is sober, Britain is legless.
On a train the other day, a group of people sat behind me and (I do not exaggerate) discussed for a full hour, from London to Oxford, the various ways in which they had been sick after drinking too much.
They were like Eskimos finding new ways to describe snow: familiarity had bred a rich language to describe what they had experienced.
This, evidently, was a big part of their lives.
Alcohol-free: American teenagers are far more moderate in their drinking than their British counterparts
In America this conversation, among 20-somethings on their way home from work, would be inconceivable.
American college students drink. American drunks drink. But regular folk leading regular lives do not drink to excess.
Biologists tell us that one of the attributes that separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom is a sense of disgust. Animals are known to eat their own vomit.
Humans recoil from it. Except in England on the train home.
One of the effects of this sobriety is to make the American equivalent of an English market town oddly peaceful in comparison.
I am not claiming that America has no problems with booze among the young and in the general population at home behind the white picket fences.
British night out: A woman drinker slumps on the pavement after a night out, a common sight on British streets. In America, regular folk leading regular lives don't drink to excess
But when it comes to public drunkenness and the crime associated with it, mainstream middle-class America escapes the kind of scenes of violent mayhem that my Today co-presenter John Humphrys described in this newspaper a few weeks ago after a night out in his former home town of Cardiff.
During my time in America whenever I met Brits over on holiday, there was a constant refrain: 'Wow, life seems so much gentler here than we thought.'
Well, that's because it's sober. And let's face it, there are plenty of aspects of American life that are far more violent than ours , from capital punishment to relaxed gun ownership, to a deeply held belief (even after the experiences of recent years) that war is a legitimate and useful tool of foreign policy.
America was created in violence and, fuelled by old-time religion, still has an occasional hankering for a shoot-out.
But with drinking kept in check, ordinary people in ordinary places can go about their lives unmolested. It still annoys me that my mum, during the last few years of her life, could not walk the streets of the city of Bath at night.
Bath, of all places! Hardly the roughest of English cities. But, at night, it was infested with enough drink-fuelled yobbishness to make it unsafe for frail folk to walk home from the cinema.
Idyllic: But even picturesque Bath falls victim to drunken yobs who make it impossible to walk safely in the streets, especially at night
One thing that living back here has made me realise, though, is that if, when it comes to drink, the British don't know when to stop, the Americans don't even get started.
While I cannot abide the obsession among sentient and often professional adults to drink themselves senseless in Britain, there is a part of me - the English part, perhaps - that does enjoy a drink or two with my friends.
And that - as I discovered the hard way - is something most Americans have never really learned to do.
Talking to my wife the other day about why our first year back here had been 100 per cent more wonderful than we thought it would be, we both agreed that part of the problem with life in America was the almost puritanical objection to any alcohol at all.
Drunkenness is nothing new to the British. These two 1751 prints - Gin Lane (top) and Beer Street, two fictional London streets - were created by William Hogarth during the Gin Craze which swept the country at the time. The Gin Craze was a period in the first half of the 18th Century when the consumption of gin became popular with the working classes in Britain - especially in London. Consumption was so high because gin became so cheap. There ensued an epidemic of extreme drunkenness that provoked moral outrage and a legislative backlash which some compare to the modern drug wars. In Gin Lane, notice the drunken mother dropping her baby over the balcony, whilst in the background a drunken riot ensues and a drunk's corpse is being places in a coffin. In Beer Street, a flag flies on the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in the background to celebrate George II's birthday (30th October). Under the sign of the "Barley Mow", a blacksmith or cooper sits with a foaming tankard in one hand and a leg of ham in the other. Together with a butcher-his steel hangs at his side-they laugh with the drayman as he distracts a housemaid from her errand.
I prefer a middle way between the two countries' approaches to booze.
An example: quite early on in our Washington adventure, we had been asked to a party by a very senior and well-known CNN correspondent.
The beau-monde of the broadcasting scene would be there. We turned up expecting sophistication. They were drinking punch.
'Well, alright, just one glass,' we said, fully intending to have rather more than one.
It looked a touch lethal - the colour of cherryade and served in large glasses. Lips touched liquid. It was all we could do not to spit it out.
It WAS cherryade. There was no alcohol. We were at a party with some of the most knowledgeable, well-connected and successful people in Washington and they were drinking cherryade. Somehow the whole event felt babyish.
In sober, temperance America this is what passes for a good time. Getting tipsy with friends - one of the great British pastimes - is perhaps a more important part of a well-lived life than we had realised.
In America, there is also a strange cultural history of actually FEARING alcohol. The disastrous legacy of the failed effort to ban it completely during Prohibition has led to a peculiar relationship between modern Americans and booze.
I remember General Stanley McChrystal, the boss of Nato forces in Afghanistan till he was sacked for criticising Barack Obama, telling me that one of the first things he was going to do when he got to Kabul was ban drinking in the officers' mess.
The idea that relaxing with a drink - without drunkenness - could be acceptable, especially when work is at hand, is very difficult for Americans to grasp.
A friend who worked for Sky News in Washington confirmed this approach.
To get to his bureau he had to walk through the Fox News office - and to be friendly on his first day he called out that anyone who fancied a drink should come with him.
It was lunchtime.
He might as well have told the (generally Right-wing) Fox folk that he was a socialist transvestite.
He was worried, he told me later, that they were going to call the cops.
The truth is that I am, as the Americans say, conflicted.
I repeat, I cannot abide the drinking culture that spills onto the streets of our city centres and provincial towns on most nights of the week now.
But would I want to see responsible drinking all but eradicated as a means to oil the wheels of social occasions?
Not if the alternative is sharing a jug of cherryade.