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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Must be one of Bill's early books, I have enjoyed all his books up to now.
Bill tours the country in an old car and criticizes every town.
No humor, just hates everything. The people are too nice, the people are mean, everything is uninteresting.
The narrator captures the spirit of the book completely. I would not have liked him except he fit the material so well
I will try to only listen to Bill's newer books
Mother, doctor, reader
Too negative and critical. Like hearing the worst side of me out loud, sarcastic and judgemental about America and Americans. After reading A Short History of Nearly Everything I was so enamored of Bryson's wit and wisdom I couldn't wait to read more and from this book I hoped for a more creative and humorous perspective to
Improve my own
Although I've been a fan of Bill Bryson for a while, this book was incredibly offensive and dated. He's also very negative throughout, talking down to just about every area of the country except for his native Iowa. There were moments of interesting historical info, and some funny moments as well, but overall I was offended by this book.
A very cynical Bill Bryson. Not what I expected. Stick with his more recent books to get his best. Not good.
no, I would recommend the abridged version as it's read by the author Bill Bryson.
all of bill bryson books...as long as they're narrated by him.
Yes. I read all of Bill Bryson's books.
Bill has always done a great job narrating his books. This book suffered for not having him do it. His voice adds so much to the experience. There is a tone to his work that is just difficult for anyone else to pull off. While William Roberts made a good attempt, without Bill giving his unique interpretation of his text, this book came off sounding like a long rant. He complained about just about everything he saw and everyone he met. The narrator did not come off as a likable character. Instead, he just sounded arrogant and snarky. That's too bad, because I can just imagine Bill putting just the right subtle spin on the text to keep it from sounding that way. I hope he will narrate his other books in the future. He is great at it.
Utterly brilliant, I could barely put it down. William Roberts reads Bryson's work like a pro.
"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.
"A great trip around 80s USA"
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.
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.
I couldn't listen to this in one sitting, but on the plus side it kept me going quite a while!
"Bill Bryson says what we'd like to say but don't!"
witty, incisive, educational(!)
The USA - such a diverse country
Spot-on. His voice matches Mr Bryson's acerbic wit perfectly.
You won't believe the things Bill Bryson sees!
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.
"funny in most parts"
Bryson has an easy&enjoyable style that makes it easy to get into his books
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
"A great read"
Funny, informative, interesting
Bill tells the story of his travels so well. There is humor and facts, which makes for a really good listen.
I listened to Down Under by Bryson also narrated by Robert's and he narrates well, very enjoyable to listen to.
The book was very well written and kept me listening for longer than I had time for.
Bill Bryson writes the most enjoyable and interesting factual books and travel journals. Well worth a listen.
"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....
"Not up to the hype!"
Having done several road trips around America, I don't feel this book did it justice. There are of course tedious things along the way and some odd balls, but most people are friendly and interesting in their own way. I did laugh out loud several times (I listened to about 90 minutes) at things like the bizarre lack of information on US road maps and road signs (accurate), but Bill Bryson's relentless disrespect for decent people as he poked fun at them offended me. It soon became clear that this 'humour' would constitute most of the book, so I will be getting a refund on this one.
If your idea of humour is laughing at people because they are overweight, have a learning disability or have simple lives, this might be for you. If you have more respect for your fellow humans, move along in your search!
"Not for me"
Having never read a Bill Bryson book I decided to give this audiobook a try. I did not enjoy this and only managed to get half way through, I did not enjoy the content which I found uninteresting and the narration was very dull. If I had the time to look how to get a refund I would definitely request one.
Report Inappropriate Content