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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid [CD-ROM]

Bill Bryson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Random House Audio (17 Oct 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 1405673982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405673983
  • ASIN: B004XGWOI8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)

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

Some say that the first hint that Bill Bryson was not of Planet Earth came when his mother sent him to school in lime green Capri pants. Others think it all started with his discovery, at the age of six, of a woollen jersey of rare fineness. Across the front was a golden thunderbolt. It was obviously the Sacred Jersey of Zap, and proved to Bryson that he had been place with thid innocuous family in the middle of America to fly, become invisible, and shoot guns out of people's hands from a distance. In this deeply funny new memoir, bill Bryson travels back in time to explore the ordinary kid he once was, and the curious world of 1950's America. It was a happy time, when almost everything was good for you, including DDt, cigarettes and nuclear fallout. Bryson's story of growing up in a specific time and place becomes everyone's story, and will speak volumes to anyone who has ever been young. Complete & Unabridged 8 CDs Playing time - 7 hours 29 mins

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epically funny and thoroughly enjoyable 28 Aug 2006
I have read every Bill Bryson book ever penned. I have enjoyed every last one of them without exception, even the rubbish ones. I'm pleased to report however that his latest book is far from that. I enjoyed 'A Short History' but it was never anything I could quite read cover to cover continuously. Thunderbolt Kid is a return to the Bill we've come to know and love. Although I'm only eighteen and British myself and one would think that I would have no common frame of reference with which to appreciate an exploration of life in 1950s America, the fantastic thing about this book is that you don't need to have been born in the fifties or even in the states to enjoy it. I think the blurb puts it very eloquently when it says that all you need to have been is young once. That said, where it does get technical, Bill goes to some lengths to explain it in a way that allows those of us not of colonial extraction to continue to snort with laughter. Be warned, this is not a book to be read in public or while eating or drinking. As with each of Bill's books, it really is laugh-out-loud funny. Well done Bill, you've not lost it and you remain one of my favourite authors, even if you do insist on insulting my home town.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bryson on top form 5 Sep 2006
There is an inexplicable `something' about Bill Bryson books that make them feel like familiar old friends as soon as you start reading them, and `The Life & Times Thunderbolt Kid' continues this. In essence, the book chronicles Bryson's early years and the changing face of America during the 1950's. I was aware that a `memoir' style effort from Bryson could be a victim of simply retracing old ground, since his earlier travel books packed in so much of his life story, but it feels as fresh and new as ever.

Although the stories contained in the book are interesting in their own right, it seems that a certain emphasis has been placed on the comedy aspects, although this never feels like it is forced. Tales of the `toity jar', a Grandmother's public confusion over liquorice baby sweets and Bryson's one-of-a-kind father had me absolutely howling with laughter.

`The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid' is an appealing slice of Americana, and a timely reminder that the USA was once a pretty fascinating and charming place. Highly recommended.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill Bryson just gets better and better 31 Aug 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a superb book, full of warmth, wit and wonderful anecdotes from the author's life. As well as being excellent social commentary on middle class America Bill Bryson also includes a plethora of insights and statistics about his home country that are eye popping and give you pause. I could not commend this book to you highly enough - a brilliant amusing and thoroughly engaging read.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRYSON'S ON FIRE 8 Jun 2007
Bill Bryson is without question the funniest travel writer on this planet. His books about criss crossing the world and experiencing different cultures are hilarious, inspiring and even occasionally, touching. And droll. Very droll. Bryson is also perhaps our drollest author.

In this new book, however, he deals with his upbringing in the Central U.S. in Iowa. Bryson proves himself to be a renaissance man, writing about growing up and his strained relationship with his father. Everybody who's experienced this, which is many, can relate.

Bryson is at his FUNNIEST, WRYEST, and MOST TOUCHING in this book. It'll make you laugh and maybe even cry. If you're the sensitive sort.

This is one of three books in the past few months that made me laugh out loud. Repeatedly. The others are "Dave Barry's Money Secrets" a send up of investment books and Martha Bolton's "Maybe Life's Just Not That Into You" an EXTRAORDINARILY FUNNY spoof of self help books.

I hope Bryson writes more books centering on his youth. Although I cannot relate in the least to growing up in this place called Iowa (I always thought it was "Ioway") he's a marvelous writer and made me feel like I was born in Ioway. Er, Iowa.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant from start to finish 29 Sep 2006
By Danny C
I have read all of Bryson's books and found this one as funny and interesting as all those that came before. In this book he has managed to capture in words those things that all of us felt at sometime during our childhood. Add into the mix a small dose of American history and you have a book that is both funny, insightful, and somewhat educational. I recommed this to all--it is vintage Bryson. Also, his old friend Katz makes an appearance. What can be better than that?!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FIVE STAR SALUTE TO THE MASTER 30 Aug 2006
Bill Bryson, the man who, had he been alive at the time, would have teased an open-throated guffaw out of Mona Lisa, is back on the Hopeless Laughter Trail with this memoir of growing up in Iowa in the '50s and'60s. Indeed, it may be his funniest book yet, but, as always with Bryson, it's more than just a chuckle fest: it's a warm, wise, poignant evocation of a nation long since vanished up its own fundament. The past is a foreign country; they did things differently there, and on a more humane scale.

A book to be treasured, to be read and then re-read, by a writer without equal.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something of a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing 20 Feb 2007
Reading other customer reviews I think its possible that Bill Bryson is misinterpreted by some of our reviewers. Yes, some of his book is written by his research, yes some of his stories are exaggerated and some is fantasy. But tell me, which books of his aren't?

Bill Bryson is the master of the jovial, chuckling and mischeiveous sideways glance.

For me this was a great book on a couple of levels.

First, the warmth. America in the 50's is a really god backdrop. The theatres, the baseball, the apple pie, the early days of television and hilarious stories of missed female flesh in the treehouse.

Secondly though, its the really powerful and delicately done stories of America's dark side; the Anti-Communist obsession, racism, failings on the space race, nuclear testing, the exploitation of countries by Corporate America. He never laboured the points or tackled them in an obvious way.

This book could easily be bedtime reading for the Anti-American, Anti-Globalisation and Anti-Everything briggade.

Overall its a sad book. Fond recollections of an era gone by.

I feel the same myself.

Until he writes another book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great A++++++++++++++
Published 28 days ago by Charlie Stopford Sackville
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very interesting insight to growing up in 50s America.
Published 1 month ago by HP DV9705ea
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I love this book! It is a wonderful account of "Billy's" childhood, and very funny. I've already read it as a paperback a few years ago, and am thoroughly enjoying... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marcy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars not his best
I adore Bill Bryson but was a little disappointed in this book. I ordered it in spite of variable reviews because I am such a fan and it was the only one of his books I didnt... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alexia Ballance
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual autobiography
An autobiography by Bill Bryson, rather tongue-in-cheek since he admits to having had a pretty ordinary childhood, on the whole. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading!
If like me you were born at a very early age you'll recognise some of the story lines in this book, and think, yes! I remember that happening to me and other similar events. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anthony Oakley
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I am a great fan of Bill Bryson's books and am never disappointed by his amusing writing style. This book was no exception
Published 4 months ago by LCK
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
Had me laughing and gave me a good insight to the America Bill grew up in. Worth taking on holiday.
Published 5 months ago by lynne hartman
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, entertaining and laugh-out-loud hilarious!
I've only relatively recently started reading Bill Bryson's work. During a holiday back in the summer I read his brilliant biography of Shakespeare; Shakespeare: The World as a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by WPH
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