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It s funny how so many Americans begin their reviews of The Lost Continent with statements such as I loved Bryson s other books but this one is terrible , all because he treats America the same way as he treats everywhere and everyone else.So while many Americans think it s acceptable hilarious, even for Bryson to make disparaging but witty comments about non Americans and the places they call home, it is an utter outrage for him to be anything other than completely worshipful with regard to America and Americans.The unavoidable, undeniable fact of the matter is that Bill Bryson s The Lost Continent is not only one of his finest works, but one of the best books ever written by anyone in recent times about the USA and Americans.It is as funny as anything you ll ever read, as well as being touching, poignant and fascinating It is the first book I ve read since Neither Here Nor There also by Bryson that has caused me to think of calling my travel agent.America has never been half as interesting as it is in The Lost Continent and Americans ought to be supremely grateful it was written and published.Five stars and highly recommended. Well, ain t it somethin for dat rascally Mr Bryson wit all o dat funny Northern talk to make his way down here to Dixie and spend some time wid us We sure do ppreciate you takin us into your rich and well knowed book, Mr Bryson And yer gosh darn right, God save all those poor folk who done shopped at K Mart They should ve spent their nickels at Crate Barrel had they knowed what to do wid demselves.. In which a bilious Bryson, returning to the U.S after living in England, borrows his mom s car with her permission and sets out to find the perfect American small town.Bryson kind of loses focus of his main task along the way, but that doesn t prevent him from slinging his jibes at 38 of the lower U.S states.This one s almost as funny as the other Bryson books I ve read, but he seems to have a stick up his behind for most of it and the sometimes nasty barbs at middle Americans lose steam fairly quickly.A nice quota of belly laughs are found herein, but you ll be shaking your head and saying, What the Hell, Billoften than not. I come from Des Moines Somebody had to. Thus begins Bill Bryson his travelogue, setting the tone for what is going to follow he is a smart aleck, and he is going to be at his sarcastic best in taking down small town America through which he is going to travel.Des Moines in Iowa is a typical small town in America where nothing ever happens and nobody ever leaves, because that is the only life they have known and they are happy with it But not so young Bill he watched one TV show on Europe when he was ten and was consumed with a desire to become European After a steady diet of National Geographics during his adolescence, Bryson left for England and settled there However, during his middle age, he was filled with a sense of nostalgia for small town America, and the journeys he had across them with his family as a child.Bryson s father was an inveterate traveller who compulsively took his family on vacations every year These would have been extremely enjoyable except for two issues Senior Mr Bryson s penchant for getting lost as well as his unbearable thrift as Bill says, h e was a child of the Depression and where capital outlays were involved he always wore the haunted look of a fugitive who has just heard blood hounds in the distance which made him avoid good restaurants and forced them to stay almost always in rundown motels.But as happens to most of us, the onset of age made Bryson view these journeysandfavourably through the rose tinted glasses of fond memory until one day he came back to the home of his youth and set across the country of his birth in an ageing Chevrolet Chevette He made two sweeps in all, one circle to the East in autumn and another to the West in spring His experiences during these two journeys are set forth in this hilarious and compulsively readable book If one is familiar with Bryson, one knows what to expect from his books sarcastic humour, bordering on the cruel enthralling snippets about history and geography and really expressive descriptions of the places he visited All these trademarks are in evidence here By the time I finished this book, I found that I possessed a surprisingly large amount of information about America, what landmarks to visit, and what famous personalities lived where Bryson writes with great feel and the place comes alive for you His predilection for staying in small towns and seedy motels the latter actually not by choice many of the towns he ended up in the night did not have any other type of accommodation shows up a facet of America the tourist is unlikely to see.But it s when he writes about people that Bryson gives free rein to his biting wit The Illinois barmaid with Ready for Sex written all over her face the Mississippi policeman who asks Hah doo lack Miss Hippy How do you like Mississippi the Indian gentleman who would not stop questioning a hungover Bryson about the possibility of smoking inside a bus who ultimately had to be shouted down the geriatric pump attendant spraying petrol all over the place, with a burning cigarette butt stuck in his mouth I can go on and on Even though these people were used as the butts of jokes, I ended up loving them they were so human.And of course, one can t forget Bryson s signature comments about America The whole of the global economy is based on supplying the cravings of two per cent of the world s population If Americans suddenly stopped indulging themselves, or ran out of closet space, the world would fall apart When you grow up in America you are inculcated from the earliest age with the belief no, the understanding that America is the richest and most powerful nation on earth because God likes us best It has the most perfect form of government, the most exciting sporting events, the tastiest food and amplest portions, the largest cars, the cheapest gasoline, the most abundant natural resources, the most productive farms, the most devastating nuclear arsenal and the friendliest, most decent and most patriotic folks on earth Countries just don t come any better So why anyone would want to live anywhere else is practically incomprehensible In a foreigner it is puzzling in a native it is seditious. And this hilarious quip about ONE PARTICULAR AMERICAN On Fifth Avenue I went into the Trump Tower, a new skyscraper A guy named Donald Trump, a developer, is slowly taking over New York, building skyscrapers all over town with his name on them, so I went in and had a look around The building had the most tasteless lobby I had ever seen all brass and chrome and blotchy red and white marble that looked like the sort of thing that you would walk around if you saw it on the sidewalk Here it was everywhere on the floors, up the walls, on the ceiling It was like being in somebody s stomach after he d eaten pizza. One may ask, whether after the journey, was Bryson satisfied Well, maybe not fully there are three things you just can t do in life You can t beat the phone company, you can t make a waiter see you until he s ready to see you, and you can t go home again. This is something which all of us must have felt one time or the other the landscapes of our youth can be visited only through memory. I do like my arm chair travelling with a hint of cynicism and much like Australians who are expert at taking the Mickey out of ourselves it was refreshing to see an American being able to take the piss.He may not be politically correct but who hasn t had a variation of the same thoughts going through their head about other tourists when travelling through touristy hot spots I can t express how much I enjoyed hearing about boring god awful places as much as I did during the reading of this book When people regale me with their travel stories I usually glaze over but I was strangely riveted and thedismal a place he visited thefun I seemed to have I m officially a Bill Bryson fan I really don t know why it took me so long to read him but now I just wantOn to the next adventure This is the worst book ever Bryson is a fat, cynical white guy traveling around the country, proclaiming in the subtitle Travels in Small Town America But like most fat white guys, Bryson is scared of small town America He hates every small town he comes to whether they re on Indian reservations, small farming communities in Nebraska, southern towns full of African Americans where the author is too scared to even stop the car, or small mining communities in West Virginia, also where the author is too scared to stop How can you write a book about small town America when you re too scared to stop in any small towns His favorite towns Pittsburg and Charlotte Definitely small in my world Driving through the north woods, crossing the border from Maine to New Hampshire The skies were still flat and low, the weather cold, but at least I was out of the montony of the Maine woods In Littleton, on the Vermont border People on the sidewalk smiled at me as I passed This was beginning to worry me Nobody, even in America, is that friendly What did they want from me At a cemetery in Vermont I stood there in the mile October sunshine, feeling so sorry for all these lukles speople and their lost lives, reflecting bleakly on mortality and my own dear, cherished family so far away in England, and I thought, Well, fuck this, and walked back down the hill to the car At least he freely refers to himself as a flinty hearted jerk off Maybe Mr Bryson should get off his lazy ass, stop whining about England, and actually stop the car once in a while This book spouts so much hateful white guy racism that I can t even bring myself to give it away While I am 100% against burning or destroying any kind of book, I simply cannot let this one leave my hands It will probably just find someone who agrees with it s horrible twisted and pessimistic point of view I haven t decided if I m going to just bury it in my storage space which may mean when I leave my apartment someone else might pick it up , or accidentally drop it in a snowbank outside At least in spring the pages would all be glued together, and no one would be able to read it ever again. Sometimes I feel like I m the only person who s noticed the fact that Bill Bryson is a smug bastard who casts a pall of depressing sarcasm over everything he writes about I mean, I m all for sarcasm in most cases, but it s as though all of his subjects are cheapened and made despicable by his prose In The Lost Continent, he turns every small town inhabitant into an ignorant, obnoxious caricature The book has virtually nothing to offer, unless you, too, are hell bent on whining about the constant ennui of middle American travel If you d like a travelogue with value and interest, try Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon, who actually has some respect for his fellow human beings. Bryson does two things very well in this book, besides his trademark humour which is happily a constant in this and every other book he s ever written He captures the spirit of the land at a very specific time in its recent history 1987, the high water mark of the Reaganite project Time and again, he is left demoralized by the mindless affluenza that was the hallmark of American society during the latter half of the 1980s More broadly, Bryson leaves a depressingly accurate description of the tawdriness and vulgarity of America s built environment a cement desert of motels, burger joints, gas stations, strip malls, freeways and parking lots repeated ad nauseam throughout the Lower 48 that is painfully recognizable even 25 years later If you have ever wondered at the wanton debasement that has been visited on the land by its greedy natives, if you have ever been saddened by the pitiless ugliness that surrounds you in America s cities, towns and suburbs, then surely this book is for you Afterwards, read Edward Abbey and Philip Connors to cleanse your soul and to give thanks for the national parks and wildernesses that still do a stalwart job of protecting nature s beauty and grandeur against a hostile population PS This was Bryson s first book The opening lines I come from Des Moines Somebody had to must constitute one of the great introductions by any writer in contemporary literature. {FREE PDF} Ë The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America ⛑ Un Appassionante Vagabondaggio Per Le Strade Di Un America Minore, Dentro Il Cuore Delle Piccole Citt Che Sono L Anima Segreta Degli Stati Uniti, Luoghi In Cui La Vita Sembra Rimasta Ferma Agli Anni Cinquanta Un Viaggio Attraverso Un Presente Rimasto Passato, In Una Provincia Rurale Che Sembra Non Voler Lasciare Spazio Al Futuro Bill Bryson, Americano Di Nascita Ma Inglese D Adozione, Percorre A Bordo Di Una Vecchia ChevroletChilometri All Inseguimento Di Un Ricordo Restituendoci Un Tempo Cristallizzato, La Canzone Di Uno Sterminato Paese Che Continua A Credere, A Immaginare, A Vivere Fra Le Pieghe Di Un Sogno Domestico E Provinciale I have been to many of the places in the west that he traveled to in this book and it was interesting to me to read about his experiences which were so different to what I experienced We had a great breakfast in Sundance, WY and the waitress was so super nice and cheerful that I actually purchased a t shirt to remember her Bill Bryson did not get to eat there as The Shriners had taken over and the waitress would not help him I don t find the west to be like his experience at all but overall I don t care for Wyoming especially if you travel it east to west South to north is fine and Yellowstone in the early spring is wonderful before it gets too crowded I thought Yosemite was beautiful but I did have to agree with him about how disorganized it is and would never go back there again for this reason He uses too much bad language as usual and it annoyed mein this book His constant nasty comments about women also made me angry like he has room to talk One review mentioned him being like W.C Fields and I thought that was accurate I have been over Phantom Canyon road several times into Victor and his comments were so funny to me I guess I am used to wild places.