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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably one of the funniest books about the U.S.
The first book by Bill Bryson I read was "A walk in the woods", and I could not imagine any book to be funnier and wittier. Then, one day, I saw "The lost continent", bought it, read it - and had to change my opinion. In this book, Iowa-born writer Bryson, who has moved to Great Britain some years ago, becomes homesick, borrows his mother's rusty car...
Published on 31 Jan. 2001

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight into contemporary America
This book sees Bill Bryson return to his native America after 15 years of living in Britain. He travels through small town America in search of the Main Street of the American dream. Bryson's observations and experiences are both interesting and amusing, and the book is similar in character to his later "Notes from a Small Island". This book is perfect for...
Published on 21 Nov. 1998


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant company, 22 Jun. 2009
By 
A. J. Boyling (london, uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lost Continent (Hardcover)
Bill Bryson's one of those writers you either get or you don't. He turns up somewhere, wanders around for a bit, doesn't do much, then moves on somewhere else. Eventually he writes a book about it which rarely strays from his own internal narrative and seldom brings shatteringly original insight.
The point is, though, that Bill's a terrific writer (takes after his father, I suppose) and an hour or so spent in his company just about anywhere is a delight. I can't think of anyone whose books relieve the tedium of a commute better than Bill, and this book is a typically modest pleasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pants-wettingly funny, 10 Sept. 2008
I think you either dig Bryson or you don't. This was the second book of his I read (first was Neither Here nor There). A year or so after I read the book I got this (on tape) to hear on holiday, and began listening in the departure lounge at LHR. Basically my wife had to virtually throw a fire-bucket over me since I was apparently making a spectacle of myself. Kerry Shale's rapid-fire delivery really makes this a great (if exhausting) listen. Even though I've heard it many times (and have attempted to mimic parts of it to friends a thousand times) I still don't get tired of hearing it. If the weather's crap and there's nothing on TV this is hard to beat for sheer pants-wettingly funny listening. The best bits are Kerry Shale's take on the Southern accent: "Can I HEP you?" "Ha doo lack Miss Hippy?" [you're going to need to buy it to figure this one out] and my special favourite "How about a piece o'Pah? We got blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, boysenberry, huckleberry, whortleberry, cherry berry, hair berry, Chuck Berry and Beri Beri". Frankly, if you can listen to this stuff for longer than a minute or two without cracking up you've either got no sense of humour or you deserve an award.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A note on the Audio versions, 28 July 2009
By 
P. R. Rustage - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Nobody seems to have said much about the audio versions of this book so I thought I would just add a note here. The BBC have issued two different audio versions. One is an unabridged reading by William Roberts, the other a shortened version edited and read by Kerry Shale. Both versions are excellent.

It is true that amidst the humour, the book does have some slightly duller and repetitive moments. Shale's edited version definitely "tightens" the humour and with his bright and punchy reading style some may regard this as an improvement on the original. This is the version that the BBC broadcast frequently on BBC7. Shale does read very quickly though and that will definitely annoy some people.

Roberts' version on the other hand is complete, read with a more relaxed pace and exhibits a wide range of expression, different accents and voice types and is for me just as funny. It is also available in MP3 format.

I couldnt recommend either one above the other - they are both excellent. Use availability, price and preferred format to make your choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest book I have ever read., 12 Jan. 1997
By A Customer
Bill Bryson's travelogue of the United States can be best described as a side-splitter. Like many of the others who have reviewed this book for Amazon, I found myself reading it out loud to anyone who was close by. A great way to make friends at crowded airports. This is the tale of Bryson's travels as a young adult with many references to his childhood experiences in Iowa doing such things as traveling on summer vacation with his parents and sister. While the book has a definite Iowa slant, his experiences are so universal that they will be enjoyed by all. What man has not wondered why the nubile cuties of his youth look as if they had swallowed airmattresses 10 or 15 years later. Bryson is cynical, jaded, snide and sentimental all at the same time. A good book for anyone who has traveled to Boston, Washington DC and particularly good for anyone with Iowa roots. And, by the way, his mother seems to be still alive and well - I saw an article in the Des Moines Register recently with her byline.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE funniest book, 10 April 2003
By 
redhotchilli (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Having spent a lot of time travelling in remoter parts of the U.S. I can imagine some of the characters that Bill mentions. Bill's observations of the modern world destroying the places he knew and loved as a child/young man are true and it's not just happening in America. He also manages to humourise everyday events that stir memories in all of us. Who hasn't ever been jostled and pushed by old ladies ? On visiting a particular place, who has never wondered how to actually get there amongst all the roads - although you can see it in the distance ? On arriving at the entrance to a park/stately home etc who has felt the need to take out a second mortgage just to pay the entry fees ? Bill's wry humour in this book makes it one of his best and my favourite. ENJOY !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A critical review of modern America, 23 July 2009
By 
Mr. J. Evans (Devon, S.W. England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book is clasic Bryson - written after a long spell in the UK, it is an outsiders view of his home country. It is affectinate and nostalgic but not sentimental, it strips bare the absurdities of life in the worlds only super power. Most of all Brysons description of his travels across the U.S in his "Chevy Nova", is laugh out loud funny. It is essential reading for anyone who has been to, or is thinking of going to the States. The historical information that he adds is fascinating and is essential in understanding what America is all about and it's not always pretty.
A great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous Travel Tales, 11 July 1999
By A Customer
We are Australians about to take our third trip to the United States. I am reading The Lost Continent for the third time - and I never fail to find it enormously entertaining. I am reading it aloud to my husband - a chapter a night - and he rolls around in bed screaming with laughter! I think that this is the best of Bryson's books, although I've found all of them very entertaining. Perhaps those people who live in the mid-west and find Bryson's book insulting will enjoy laughing at us - I believe Bill has recently been in Australia getting material for a new book!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight into contemporary America, 21 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This book sees Bill Bryson return to his native America after 15 years of living in Britain. He travels through small town America in search of the Main Street of the American dream. Bryson's observations and experiences are both interesting and amusing, and the book is similar in character to his later "Notes from a Small Island". This book is perfect for a long train or coach journey, and if you like Bryson's newspaper columns you will certainly enjoy this book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 22 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
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I've read a few reviews of this book by Americans who feels Bryson is being unfair by laughing so much of their country and culture. All I can say is they need to get a sense of humour! This book is interesting, funny and also poignant in parts, particularly the part that covers the Deep South. Probably Bryson's funniest book, and that's saying something!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The template of his success, 13 May 2012
This is Bill Bryson's first travel book and it also became a kind of template for the travel books
that followed it. Basically he travels around a country or continent checks into the nearest hotel
in town and has a wander around any museums or interesting landmarks then gets back in his
car and heads off to the next town.

Now on the face of it that doesn't sound very engrossing but his writing style which
includes wit ,sarcasm and warmth helps make the book an entertaining read.
He brings to life, in an amusing way, the characters of the people he meets. You feel as if you
are alongside him on his trips and he has the great knack of describing people's mannerisms in a way
you are familiar with but with a satirical twist. Reading this and his other books he comes across
as a close friend you have never really met .Someone who shares your sense of humour and take on life.

This book is not a heavy read and like many of his other books I have read them many times as I find
them good chill-out relaxing books to read.The book is obviously dated now but the writing is timeless
there will always be a place on my bookshelf for a book which has all the above attributes however old they become.
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