Posted 20 hours ago

Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country (Bryson Book 6)

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The thing that Bryson most loves about Australia – its “effortlessly dry, direct way of viewing the world” – is, in fact, his own. Ignoring such dangers – and yet curiously obsessed by them – Bill Bryson journeyed to Australia and promptly fell in love with the country. It is the home of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluru to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). Not so James Urquhart in the Financial Times: "Down Under exhibits a smoother and more mature humour than previous works. There is no shortage of idiots - which is why Down Under will sell thousands more copies than Anglo-Australian Attitudes.

Events, how people look and what they say are recorded faithfully and with master of observation Bill Bryson's wonderful facility for making you laugh out loud, there are plenty of reasons for doing so. I will soon start reading Bill Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’, which is about the Appalachian Trail, and I have no plans to actually go to the US and do the trail myself! Thanks for not shirking the reports of the incomprehensible attitude of some Australians towards the Aboriginal people, counterbalanced with the accurate recount of the warmth good nature and hospitality of most citizens.Bryson goes to Australia for a couple of months, produces a hack work that sells massively and even wins over a perceptive reviewer who has immediately seen through its slackness and superficiality. From the Northeast you will travel across the far north and discover the dangers and weather that can stop you in your tracks. You almost don't feel like you don't need to go and see the Sydney Opera House or journey through the Outback, because Bryson has told you all you need to know. The group's avowed aim was the destruction of the world, and it appears that the event in the desert may have been a dry run for blowing up Tokyo.

Bryson is very definitely upper middle class but it is that ability to be Everyman; see what we all see and yet articulate it in a way we cannot; that makes his writing so successful. Leaving no Vegemite unsavored, listeners will accompany Bryson as he dodges jellyfish while learning to surf at Bondi Beach, discovers a fish that can climb trees, dehydrates in deserts where temperatures leap to 140 degrees F, and tells the true story of the rejected Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House. We use Google Analytics to see what pages are most visited, and where in the world visitors are visiting from. He gives a totally new complexion to the concept of ‘hard luck’, ‘missing out’, or ‘arriving too late’.The laugh out loud passages on his introduction to cricket I applaud, the game makes as much sense to me as it did to Bill.

These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc. Bill Bryson's many books include The New York Times bestseller A Walk in the Woods and, most recently, I'm a Stranger Here Myself . Terence Blacker, in the Sunday Times, was more temperate, but still dismissed the book as a hack job: "For someone about to visit Australia, Down Under presents a perfect, accessible introduction to the country, its history and its people. The rest of this section is devoted to the author's account of what he considers to be Civilized Australia, with accounts of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, and many countryside towns in between. This seemed doubly astounding to me--first that Australia could just lose a prime minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this had never reached me.

As a Brit, I found Down Under infinitely less threatening and much more enjoyable than Notes on a Small Island (see separate review); the latter which is nonetheless great itself. Consider just one of those stories that did make it into the Times in 1997, though buried away in the odd-sock drawer of Section C. Just in time for the 2000 Olympics-the bestselling quthor of A Walk in the Woods takes listeners on a truly outrageous tour Down Under. Bill Bryson’s assessment of her, the hotel, and the people of Darwin would not look good on Trip Adviser. The thing that Bryson most loves about Australia - its "effortlessly dry, direct way of viewing the world" - is, in fact, his own.

Also, his insatiable thirst for detail finds him, as ever, ferreting out the who, the why and the where to enhance the reader's knowledge of the book's subject matter.

It was also published as part of Walk About, which included Down Under and another of Bryson's books, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, in one volume.

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