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This review is from: American Vertigo: On the Road from Newport to Guantanamo (Hardcover)
The book's subtitle "On the Road from Newport to Guantanamo" seems to suggest that this book is a travel book in the manner of say Bill Bryson, it isn't. At the end of a list of Levy's accomplishments (journalist, writer, filmmaker) is 'philosopher' and this book is definitely written with his philosopher hat on. Although Levy does spend a year touring America in the footsteps of French proto-sociologist Tocqueville, I never got a real sense of any of the many places he visits.
Many of the chapters are named after the city he is in at the time but the chapter will then be a general musing about some aspect of American life that is not linked in any way with that city. I have been to many of the places he visited but again I read nothing that I could relate to or recognise. I felt that the book could have been written back in France, without the trip altogether. Similarly, when he quotes the people he interveiwed, he seems to smugly dismiss what they have to say, without giving any explanation.
Most of the chapters are around four pages long and I found that on the rare occasion I was interested on what he had to say by the time he got round to saying it we were on to the next subject. He is also constantly trying to promote the idea of a pan-European consensus that is opposed to American ideals/actions.
I persevered for two-thirds of the book (250 pages) but as I wasn't enjoying it at all - I found it hard to read and all rather pointless - and so at that point I gave up.