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The Lost Continent Audiobook

The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America

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Publisher's Summary

Hardly anyone ever leaves Des Moines, Iowa. But Bill Bryson did, and after 10 years in England he decided to go home, to a foreign country.

In an ageing Chevrolet Chevette, he drove nearly 14,000 miles through 38 states to compile this hilarious and perceptive state-of-the-nation report on small-town America.

From the Deep South to the Wild West, from Elvis' birthplace through to Custer's Last Stand, Bryson visits places he re-named Dullard, Coma, and Doldrum (so the residents don't sue or come after him with baseball bats). But his hopes of finding the American dream end in a nightmare of greed, ignorance, and pollution. This is a wickedly witty and savagely funny assessment of a country lost to itself, and to him.

©1989 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (332 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-19-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Disappointed -Not the same without author as reader"

    No interest in listening without the author as reader.
    It is the author's cadence and nuance that makes his books come alive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dara Raleigh, NC, United States 08-03-16
    Dara Raleigh, NC, United States 08-03-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Wittily written, but Dated and Snide."

    My fiancee and I got this to listen to for a road trip, but while we enjoyed the opening chapters, I think we both quickly lost interest as the mockery in the writing became less affectionate and somewhat more genuine. The book is also somewhat dated by this time and these two things together made us lose interest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bgmoxie 07-27-16
    bgmoxie 07-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "The most fun I've ever had on a road trip!"

    Only Bryson can make dull places interesting and even hilarious at times. His spot-on descriptions of small-town America make people and places come to life in this most enjoyable learning adventure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison Judge Reno, NV USA 06-14-16
    Allison Judge Reno, NV USA 06-14-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Bryson needs to narrate Bryson"
    What did you love best about The Lost Continent?

    This is a great travel story - as are all of Bill Bryson's travel books. His writing is amusing AND informative - I find it hard to get enough of him!
    A huge disappointment to have a dramatic narrator - William Roberts - read this. Much of the wry humor is lost with over-acting. I am not sure I can finish the book - I've invested 5+ hours of listening time. Be sure to listen to the audio sample first before purchasing. I thought that great writing would make for great listening and it's not true here. I hope Mr Bryson will consider narrating all of his books. Otherwise I'll pick up printed copies because they are as wonderful as hearing his voice read his own stories.


    Would you be willing to try another one of William Roberts’s performances?

    I absolutely would! He's got a wonderful voice and for a dramatic reading, he would be a great choice.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Rex New York, NY United States 06-12-16
    T. Rex New York, NY United States 06-12-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Good for any Bryson fanatic, but far from his best"

    This is Bill Bryson's first real travel writing/memoir, a tour of the continental US from the late 90s. The seeds of his talent with writing about history and natural science are there, but he doesn't have the research tools or confidence in his voice about such matters to even attempt what he accomplishes in his later works. Instead he relies much more on tone and humor, which is fine. But it's a lesser work.

    It is at his best when he remembers his recently deceased father and childhood (though that is explored much more directly in Thunderbolt Kid) and as a kind of time capsule of the late 20th century, but I would put it near the bottom of a recommended Bryson reading list. In A Sunburnt Country and A Short History and At Home are all superior, and A Walk in the Woods is the bridge between styles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Dawson 05-09-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Bryson's evil twin penned this one"

    if you loved A Walk in the Woods, purchasing this book is not going to satisfy your desire for more of the same. Here, Bryson is not witty but mean-spirited, not charming but ignoble. His casual sexism and base observations seem to reflect a very different man than is presented in A Walk in the Woods and At Home.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Montagne 05-02-16
    R. Montagne 05-02-16 Member Since 2014
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    "A dissapointing book from a great author."
    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors. He's often irreverent, but this book was exceedingly negative and opinionated. I can only guess he was going through a bad period in his life. I hope he snaps out of it. On the other hand, one of the most memorable books I've ever read is his "Short History of Nearly Everything". Great author, disappointing book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Treacy 04-17-16
    E. Treacy 04-17-16 Member Since 2015
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    "An excellent listen on a road trip of your own"

    My sister and I listened to this as we traversed the US over 40 days in the summer of 2015, traveling through 29 states. Bryson's recount of his own journey as a prodical son returned made for a fascinating and enthralling listen, the juxtaposition against our own virgin adventure in the USA resulted in some moments of sureal familiarity with places he had visited which we found ourselves in. I would highly recommend this audio book to anyone contemplating a trip across the US, or anyone who would like to illicit some nostalgia for one they have taken in the past.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Blevins 02-28-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Two chapters in reviews"

    I already am angry. Bryson has always been my favorite but he clearly hates America. Wish he would write about it even half as pleasant as he does England. Plus, he wrote this book 30 years after the trip, how much is true memory? Narrator was a horrible selection. Bryson is an excellent narrator but this guy's voice is unlike any Bryson book. Bill what is happening to your humor filled, interesting writing?? We will see if I change review

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P 11-18-15
    P 11-18-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Ugh"

    I noticed an occasional flash of smug condescension in Bryson's "A Walk In the Woods" but this book...wow. I could only listen to a few minutes. His arrogant meanness is so off-putting that I wondered if this is the same person who wrote "A Short History of Nearly Everything", one of my absolute favorites. "Cretinous Conservatives"? Really? We know that all Democrats are liberal and good, while all Republicans are conservative, stupid, and evil, but could you have waited at least until the second page before you began spewing your superior political awareness? And the sneering descriptions of his hometown from the very first sentence- this was a waste of my time and money. Audible should have a Toxic Warning Label on this cruel crap.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Dr
    East Horsley, United Kingdom
    7/14/15
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    "Hilarious"

    I'm a great fan of Bill Bryson and particularly this book as it was the first I read some 10 years ago
    It still makes me laugh out loud

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • june gibson
    6/18/15
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    "The wit and description of each day"

    I am new to audio books as my eyesight is failing fast and I love books I am very grateful to you all ..I have enjoyed this story and I smiled all the way through America I will certainly listen to Bill Bryson again

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Janejane_jane
    5/14/15
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    "Relaxing and informative"

    Perhaps not a action packed page turner, but an interesting read. Good to listen to while commuting. If you like Bill Bryson's other books this is a very good bet!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Indy
    5/9/15
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    "Spectacular"

    Utterly brilliant, I could barely put it down. William Roberts reads Bryson's work like a pro.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. S. Turner
    UK
    3/20/15
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    "Love it, William Roberts is brilliant"

    Perfect narration. Listened to it 5 times so far. Wish William Roberts ready all if brysons work. He really brings it to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Happy Shopper
    FRINTON ON SEA, United Kingdom
    12/4/14
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    "A great trip around 80s USA"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Lost Continent to be better than the print version?

    I very much enjoyed listening to The Lost Continent, but don't consider it the best of the audible versions of Bill Bryson's books. I preferred reading the print version, but it was still interesting, and full of facts and funny characters.


    What does William Roberts bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    In other Bryson books I've enjoyed listening to William Roberts, but not so much in this one, he seems to over act a little which is unusual and rather annoying.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't listen to this in one sitting, but on the plus side it kept me going quite a while!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • forever reading
    East Sussex
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bill Bryson says what we'd like to say but don't!"
    If you could sum up The Lost Continent in three words, what would they be?

    witty, incisive, educational(!)


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The USA - such a diverse country


    What about William Roberts’s performance did you like?

    Spot-on. His voice matches Mr Bryson's acerbic wit perfectly.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    You won't believe the things Bill Bryson sees!


    Any additional comments?

    I have had this book on tape which has worn out due to the number of times I have played it so it was a joy to discover this on download. It still makes me laugh - don't listen whilst driving unless you don't mind the odds looks from other motorists.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nicky Beet
    5/26/14
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    Performance
    Story
    "funny in most parts"
    What made the experience of listening to The Lost Continent the most enjoyable?

    Bryson has an easy&enjoyable style that makes it easy to get into his books


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh


    Any additional comments?

    Im assuming it is just due to the time the book was written but there are several passages that just seemed sexist or condesending.that aside it was a good book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • review name
    London, UK
    12/13/13
    Overall
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    "A great read"
    If you could sum up The Lost Continent in three words, what would they be?

    Funny, informative, interesting


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bill tells the story of his travels so well. There is humor and facts, which makes for a really good listen.


    Have you listened to any of William Roberts’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I listened to Down Under by Bryson also narrated by Robert's and he narrates well, very enjoyable to listen to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The book was very well written and kept me listening for longer than I had time for.


    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson writes the most enjoyable and interesting factual books and travel journals. Well worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gustav
    London, United Kingdom
    8/19/12
    Overall
    "Funny but pointless"

    This is a funny book, and it makes you laugh. Job done, it gets four stars. But, there is nothing extra in the book. There are no real insights into the American small town. Most of the book is about Bill himself. Everything is focused on him and his memories. Still, made me laugh....

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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