The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America Het Verloren Continent Is Een Hilarisch, Scherpzinnig En Ontluisterend Portret Van Het Hedendaagse Amerika Na De Dood Van Zijn Vader Maakt Bill Bryson Een Reis Door De Verenigde Staten Op Zoek Naar Het Land Van Zijn Jeugd Hij Begint En Eindigt Zijn Tocht In Zijn Geboortestad Des Moines, Iowa En Bezoekt Onderweg Achtendertig Staten

William McGuire Bill Bryson, OBE, FRS was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951 He settled in England in 1977, and worked in journalism until he became a full time writer He lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire He and his family then moved to New Hampshire in America for a few years, but they have now returned to live in the UK.In The Lost Continent, Bil

[Epub] ➝ The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America Author Bill Bryson –
  • Paperback
  • The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
  • Bill Bryson
  • Dutch
  • 12 August 2019
  • 9789050930840

10 thoughts on “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

  1. says:

    The Lost Continental A Look at Bill Bryson Bill Bryson s travel books are mostly like this one, a constant whining about everything His other books I love It s not that I don t get the humor in this book, I just think that it isn t funny, not in the least I should also say that I have lived a full one quarter of my life outside of the United States and I don t care if someone makes fun of anything and everything American I ve done a bit of bashing myself. A dyspeptic man in his middle thirties, whose constant bad mood seems like someone in their mid seventies, drives around the U.S and complains about absolutely everything he sees, smells, hears, and eats If this sounds like your idea of a good time, read Bill Bryson s The Lost Continent Travels in Small Town America Abacus, 1990.He constantly mocks small towns in America by referring to them by such names as Dog Water, Dunceville, Urinal, Spigot, and Hooterville and this is in the first five pages Don t worry about the intrepid insulter running out of clever names for hick towns Bryson has a million of them and he uses every single one.The only things about which Bryon has a favorable view are natural wonders and the homes of rich people He marvels at the obscenely posh residences of ultra wealthy, early 20th century industrialists on Mackinac Island which were built before income taxes and most labor laws He would probably be thrilled with pre revolutionary France or Czarist Russia One of his very few favorable reviews of American cities was of the ski town of Stowe, Vermont which caters almost exclusively to the rich.When he is traveling through the southwest he complains about the Mexican music on the radio He seems content to resort to bigotry than to come to some sort of understanding about the culture he is visiting In my opinion, it s always interesting to praise something that you understand than to mock something that you don t I would have taken the time to translate a few of the songs and tell readers what they are about In fact, I have done this and Mexican ranchera music is all about stories of love, heartbreak, and often violence which describe the cowboy culture of Mexico s northern territories Bryson implies that the people who listen to this music are just too stupid to realize that it is only one tune played over and over.He gripes about a weatherman on TV who seems rather gleeful at the prospect of a coming snow storm yet Bryson seems to relish in the idea of not liking anything that he experiences in his journey His entire trip is like a storm he passes through Just once I wanted him to roll into some town that he liked and get into an interesting conversation with one of its residents.Here are examples of the cheeriness with which Bryson opens a few of his chapters I drove on and on across South Dakota God, what a flat and empty state What is the difference between Nevada and a toilet You can flush a toilet One reviewer called Bryson witty I was headed for Nebraska Now there s a sentence you don t want to have to say too often if you can possibly help it In 1958, my grandmother got cancer of the colon and came to our house to die This last event must have brought untold joy to the young writer.Tell us , Bill His narrative is tiresome than any Kansas wheat field he may have passed on his road trip through hell Most Americans seem to be either fat, or stupid, or both in the eyes of Bryson I can only assume that Bryson himself is some sort of genius body builder although in his photo on the book jacket he s a fat schlub Just one time I wanted him to talk to a local resident over a beer or a cup of coffee I wanted him to describe his partner in conversation as other than fat or stupid Not even one time do we hear about a place from somebody who lives there We could just as easily have read the guidebooks as Bryson did and he could have stayed home and saved himself thousands of miles of misery.Whenever someone starts to tell me about somewhere they went I ask them to describe their favorite thing about the trip, be it a place, food, the people, or whatever If they start to complain about the place I either change the subject or walk away if I can Travel is supposed to broaden the mind, not make it narrower.

  2. says:

    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.

  3. says:

    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, Bill often than not.

  4. says:

    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 journeys and favourably 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.

  5. says:

    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..

  6. says:

    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.

  7. says:

    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 the dismal a place he visited the fun 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 want On to the next adventure

  8. says:

    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.

  9. says:

    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.

  10. says:

    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 me in 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.

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