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Bill Bryson's African Diary [Hardcover]

Bill Bryson , Julia LLoyd , Jenny Matthews
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Dec 2002

Bill Bryson goes to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. Kenya, generally regarded as the cradle of mankind, is a land of contrasts, with famous game reserves, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant cultural tradition. It also provides plenty to worry a traveller like Bill Bryson, fixated as he is on the dangers posed by snakes, insects and large predators. But on a more sober note, it is a country that shares many serious human and environmental problems with the rest of Africa: refugees, AIDS, drought, and grinding poverty.

Travelling around the country, Bryson casts his inimitable eye on a continent new to him, and the resultant diary, though short in length, contains the trademark Bryson stamp of wry observation and curious insight. All the author's royalties from Bill Bryson's African Diary, as well as all profits, will go to CARE International.

Illustrated with 8pp of colour.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 60 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st. Edition edition (2 Dec 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385605145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385605144
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.4 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. Settled in England for many years, he moved to America with his wife and four children for a few years ,but has since returned to live in the UK. His bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods and Down Under. His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of the decade in the UK.


Photography © Julian J

Product Description

Review

"Bryson is one of the funniest travel writers in the business." -- "The Globe and Mail" "Bryson has become an enormously popular travel writer by coming off as the most literate tour guide you've ever had." -- "The New York Times" "Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can't help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind." -- "Ottawa Citizen" "Bryson is first and foremost a storyteller -- and a supremely comic and original one at that." -- "Winnipeg Free Press"

Book Description

Bryson travels to Kenya in support of CARE International and brings his inimitable humorous and humane view to Africa.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good....needed to be longer 25 July 2004
Format:Hardcover
Bill Bryson tells us all about the Care Projects in Africa in this wonderful little charity book. The book is well written, even funny in places, and touches on poverty in the third world. The problem is that I felt that a six day diary in just over sixth pages was not enough. I wanted to know more about these people and their lives. I believe that this book could have been far greater if far more of the same quality of writting had been included.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a short read, not someone who wants to get their teeth into what lives are like in Africa.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, funny, moving book 14 Dec 2002
Format:Hardcover
When I unpacked my order, my first impression was to feel cheated by how slender it was. That feeling vanished somewhere around the middle of page 2; and I didn't put it down until I reached the end.
This book is a wonderful, funny, moving account of 8 days Bill Bryson spent in Kenya at the invitation of the charity CARE. He recounts, with his usual brand of humour visits to slums, village pumps and refugee camps. Bill doesn't hide the fact that he was clearly affected by some of the things he saw.
If you like Bill Bryson, don't be put off by the size. Buy a copy.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good little bookette! 10 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Being an absolute avid fan of Bill Bryson's work I eagerly awaited this little bookette to give me a good top up of Bryson's humour and observation before his next 'proper' book is released next summer.
African Diary did not disappoint. Bryson goes to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, a charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty. All royalities and profits from the book are donated to the charity.
Despite being only 63 pages (I say despite as I just love his work) the book uses Bryson's humour as well as his power as a writer to bring to the attention of the reader the poverty and hardship faced in places like the slums of Nairobi and Mombasa and the incredible strength, optimism and persistence of those who live there. Bryson does not make you 'pitty' the people, more give you a sense that they just want a chance - the ability to look after themselves, support their families and get a good education. Something we in the Western World take for granted.
It is an eye-opener with coloured photography illustrating places along Bryson's Journey.
If you love Bryson, then buy the book. If you support charities and feel you want to help, then buy the book purely as a donation to CARE.
I remember Bryson saying in an interview he only had 2 weeks in which to write this book and my only criticism is that is it relatively short. Just as you get into the book and the feel of his writing, it ends. I'm sure there is the potential to turn African Diary into a full-length book, but then then impact on price/publishing cost etc. would probably do the charity a dis-service.
Bill Bryson is simply the best in his field :)
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly funny for such a short book 23 Sep 2004
Format:Hardcover
I was amazed by the quality of this work - initially disappointed by its size, I read it nevertheless and was soon in fits of laughter. It is unbelievable how an author manages to pack such a dense number of insights into such a compact work. A thoroughly good read - highly recommended.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, but very short. 23 Feb 2003
Format:Hardcover
African Diary is one of Bryson's usual great books very informative, and the usual humour that we've come to love and expect in this respect African Diary is a good buy except for one fact. The book is remarkably short with only 63 pages of which 18 pages are of copyright, thanks to various people and some colour pictures in the middle of which are acutely quite good. Now this isn't a problem I quite like short books that get the point across which this book does but I resent having to pay the same price as I would for one of Byson's regular books.
However on the redeeming side all profits go to CARE International and this is a worthy cause...
To sum up if you don't mind short books and thinking of the buy as a donation to a very worthy cause then you should buy this in retrospect I still would. However if you don't like short books and don't want to make a donation to charity then African Diary is not for you.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Feels like a donation to care to me 27 Dec 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a big fan of Bryson I ordered this shortly after it came out and awaited its delivery. First thing is the size - at about half an inch thick it is rather thin. Its a hardback as well, so thats about a quater of an inch of text. But yet it goes on, take away the 5 pages of copyright info at the start and 8 pages of adverts for Care at the end, plus the 8 pages of photos in the middle (although photos are good, they aren't why we buy Bryson) we are left with only 49 pages of text. With only 24 lines of text per page you are looking at a 20-30 minute read in total.
The small amount of Bryson in here is entertaining. His familiar ability of getting himself somewhere he really cant handle gets him again. But this time he has guides with him to ensure no wrong happens to him. He is witty, informative and has great short anecdotes but there is far too little.
The whole thing feels like an advert to Care, the title African Diary is very misleading -"8 days rushing around Kenya and writing 4/5 pages per day" would be a better title. Even Bryson himself says "You made a generous donation to a worthy cause and got a free book in return" shame it wasnt a book worth reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The book is so poorly bound that the pages fall ...
The book is so poorly bound that the pages fall out when you read it. Bryson is is usual an entertaining writer.
Published 3 days ago by Ewan
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
MUCH TOO SHORT A READ
Published 16 days ago by gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great.
Too short unfortunately but very good. Perhaps he will write another book on this magical mystery land that is Africa?
Published 25 days ago by i_mcg
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air
Have read a couple of Bill's books before and like his style. This is not a disappointment, it is a revelation. We should all be humbled.
Published 1 month ago by S E CROCKETT
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Realise it wasn't a Proper Bryson Book
Bought this book thinking it was a Bill Bryson volume that had previously escaped my attention , had I known it was a slim charity effort I wouldn't have bothered .
Published 3 months ago by A.J. Reynolds
4.0 out of 5 stars great little book
Having lived in Africa myself for years, Bryson describes the place and one's feelings about it so well, how could I not like it? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mary Blackie
5.0 out of 5 stars book
book by bill bryson about when he went to africa and to be honest i can't remember much about it but i am a bill bryson fan so i figure i'll give it a good review because he's a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly short and unsubstantive----- not value for money
I have read a lot of Bill Bryson's work and so I was unprepared for the brevity pf this book and the lack of inherent substance in the plot; what plot? Read more
Published 4 months ago by EMB
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Thank you Bill for making the trip and bringing me back to a country I love and all in a very good cause
Published 4 months ago by ronyb
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Bill - Not One of Your Best
Having read all of Bill Bryson's books I ordered this but was disappointed in that it was very small & short. My husband read it in a hour. Sorry Bill but not one of your best
Published 5 months ago by little1leah
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