We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Lost Continent Audiobook

The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America

Regular Price:$20.34
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (400 )
5 star
 (143)
4 star
 (113)
3 star
 (84)
2 star
 (34)
1 star
 (26)
Overall
3.7 (317 )
5 star
 (115)
4 star
 (81)
3 star
 (67)
2 star
 (31)
1 star
 (23)
Story
3.9 (316 )
5 star
 (123)
4 star
 (97)
3 star
 (47)
2 star
 (27)
1 star
 (22)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Luke A Zimmerman 08-08-17 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Story
    "Snarky and Fun"

    Different than other Bill Bryson books - much more bitting style of humor. But, this was one of his earlier books. Very entertaining nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 06-28-17
    Aaron 06-28-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "the narrator overdoes it a bit"

    Bill Bryson is a fantastic writer, though this may not be his strongest example. He offers a very negative analysis of happenings that don't come close to warranting any attention at all. In his masterpiece "A Brief History of Nearly Everything" he manages to be critical, reasonable, insightful, funny and charming. Here, though, he doesn't stray too far from merely being cruel to each of his subjects.

    My negative review is at least party impacted by the narrator. He hits every emotion squarely on the head, leaving no room for ambiguity. When a character may be naive, the narrator uses a voice that is too naive. It's not very subtle. I'd like to see more performances with less intonation, less differences between characters. In a sprawling travel book like this, you don't need a distinct voice for every new character. It's too much.


    But still, there were moments of brilliance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-31-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "A Bland Man Goes Bland Places"

    Bill Bryson really captures the spirit of being from Des Moines, he too is a very bland person, that only complains about everything. He portrays his small town ignorance well, as with the other small town ignorant people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-19-16 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!<br/>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.<br/>


    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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    R. Montagne 05-02-16
    R. Montagne 05-02-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    82
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
Sort by:
  • Len85
    2/15/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bit too cynical"

    I love Roberts's narration as always. Some of this was funny and Bill is always interesting; but he is so cynical in this book, verging at times to unpleasantness rather than ascerbic wit. I would give this a pass. Choose A Walk in the Woods instead.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Maid Marian
    Sherwood Forest
    8/25/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent combination of author and narrator"

    Once again, Bill Bryson's words and William Roberts' narration take this audio book into my personal top ten. Bill's travels across America are told in his usual observant and witty style. Full of interesting facts, anecdotes and laugh-out-loud moments.

    Would definitely recommend it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    8/16/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absorbing"

    insightful, absorbing and a nice easy listen. would recommend to anyone who has enjoyed a bill Bryson story before

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • bookworm
    8/15/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not my favourite narrator"

    If you've listened to the author or Kerry Shale read Bill Bryson books before, this may well be a bit of a disappointment for you like it was for me. Otherwise it's ok. Halfway through I started checking Google maps to follow him round on his travels, which was fun - I couldn't stand listening again but I may get the book from the library and do that from the beginning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rebecca
    Dublin, Ireland
    8/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unnecessarily cruel"

    I have read Bill Bryson before and I have always liked him, but I only listened to a couple of hours of this one before I had to stop.
    It seemed (from what I heard) it was just a lot of bashing "fat loud Americans". I'm not American, so it's not that I was offended, it just seemed unnecessarily cruel.
    This book is pretty old, so I'm guessing he's gotten kinder with age, since I like his more recent stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Honest Dude
    8/8/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant account of Bryson's travels in America"
    What did you like most about The Lost Continent?

    The detailed account actually takes you on the journey as if you're actually accompanying Bill Bryson. After listening to this book, you kind of know which places in small town America to avoid!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lost Continent?

    The laugh out moments, there are lots of them in this book. Bill Bryson has a knack for witty writing whilst vividly painting a picture of his experiences, you sometimes think you're actually there with him on the journey.


    What about William Roberts’s performance did you like?

    His performance was excellent. I liked the way he had different voices for each person that Bryson met.


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

    You thought America was one big country, think again!


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very entertaining and engaging listen. In my opinion this is is one of Bryson's better books. I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • bobbi1002
    8/8/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny and entertaining"

    Very much enjoy the books of bill bryson he is a witty and extremely amusing writer . I think the narrator of this book took some getting used to and wasn't as funny as the book deserved . Having said that there were a couple of laugh out loud moments still an enjoyable listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    8/7/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a whinger"

    It's the first time I've read or listened to a Bill Bryson book and it will be the last. Maybe it hasn't aged well but I found the whole thing reactionary, smug and even distasteful. Still it killed off any sentimental prospect of ever doing a road trip in America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inon
    redbank NJ USA
    8/7/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "old and outdated"

    an old 80's liberal. it actualy has a trump joke 30 years before trump became potus. just a book about how bad is the usa... full of racist remarks and what later h. clinton called " deplorabeles"....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tommy
    8/2/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Run of the mill Bryson."

    An enjoyable listen overall but sometimes repetitive and lacks much of the nuance and perspective of Bryson's later work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.