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Down Under by Bill Bryson

Down Under (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Bill Bryson

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6,837179538 (3.98)203
Title:Down Under
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Black Swan (2001), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:travel, Australia

Work details

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (2000)


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» See also 203 mentions

English (168)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Piratical (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (177)
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
Bryson is the foremost travel writer of our generation and, after travels through the US, the UK and Europe, he turned his focus to Australia with "In a Sunburned Country".

Being Australian, I had special knowledge of what Bryson wrote about, and found he made a few mistakes; his statement about senators from the territories is incorrect (and I'm surprised it made its way to print), and of course I take umbrage to his negative views on cricket. Bryson is a very funny man though so I can forgive him these discretions. ( )
  MiaCulpa | May 19, 2016 |
Great travelogue about Australia, a country most Americans - including myself - seem to know very little about. It's a fascinating place when the guide is Bill Bryson. ( )
  tgraettinger | Mar 6, 2016 |
8. In a Sunburned Country (Audio) by Bill Bryson
read by the author
published: 2000
format: digital audiobook, 11:54 (352 pages in paperback)
acquired: borrowed from my library.
listened: Feb 4 - 17
Rating: 3 stars

I really picked this audiobook only because I thought it would be mildly interesting and entertaining enough for my commute. It hadn't really occurred to me to be all that interested in an travelogue of Australia. But I have basically cleaned my library out of audiobooks I might want to listen to.

So, on the good, after opening with much real but mindlessly entertaining humor, the book did later bring me onboard. Bryson is Bryson and he can make stuff you didn't care all that much about become really interesting. I picture him having a tough time figuring how to go about this book, how to write a travel book that isn't really a travel book. First throw in as much humor as possible and then eventually stumble into substance. Anyway, that is what he seems to have done and it works.

That bad is that, after all this very interesting and sometimes wonderful stuff, he sidesteps the Australian Aboriginal issue. Of course it's a thorny issue and something rather complicated and negative for what is supposed to be a fun and non-controversial book. But, it felt like a great mistake, like the whole book became somehow half effort all because he couldn't figure out his way in. Did he try and just encounter too many problems? Did he decide that at 1.5% of the population maybe they aren't such a big deal? I don't know and wish he had found a better answer. ( )
2 vote dchaikin | Feb 17, 2016 |
This was an interesting look at a land that I (and apparently most of the world) knew little about. Bryson just cracked me up along the way which made it all the more fun to listen to! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was an interesting look at a land that I (and apparently most of the world) knew little about. Bryson just cracked me up along the way which made it all the more fun to listen to! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
Boisterous and contagious, Bryson’s writing is a constant affectionate tease aimed at prodding the reader as much as the society and place that he is describing. Bryson loves Australia and he wants you to share his enthusiasm for it. Wherever Bryson is: gaping at a giant stuffed lobster on the roadside in the middle of the Australian outback, cursing himself as he tries to snorkel unsuccessfully in the Great Barrier Reef, or admiring Sydney’s harbor he writes with a love and a ruthlessness that only a sibling or best friend would dare to use.
added by mikeg2 | editYale University, Noam Schimmel (Jun 10, 2001)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To David, Felicity, Catherine, and Sam
First words
Flying into Australia, I realized with a sigh that I had forgotten again who their prime minister is.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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published in Britain as "Down Under"
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Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
The author of "A Walk in the Woods" now chronicles his exploration of Australia. This good-humoured traveller relates his outback adventures with anecdotes
about the history and local inhabitants. Describes the harsh terrain and hostile wildlife including crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and attacking seashells.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767903862, Paperback)

Bill Bryson follows his Appalachian amble, A Walk in the Woods, with the story of his exploits in Australia, where A-bombs go off unnoticed, prime ministers disappear into the surf, and cheery citizens coexist with the world's deadliest creatures: toxic caterpillars, aggressive seashells, crocodiles, sharks, snakes, and the deadliest of them all, the dreaded box jellyfish. And that's just the beginning, as Bryson treks through sunbaked deserts and up endless coastlines, crisscrossing the "under-discovered" Down Under in search of all things interesting.

Bryson, who could make a pile of dirt compelling--and yes, Australia is mostly dirt--finds no shortage of curiosities. When he isn't dodging Portuguese man-of-wars or considering the virtues of the remarkable platypus, he visits southwest Gippsland, home of the world's largest earthworms (up to 12 feet in length). He discovers that Australia, which began nationhood as a prison, contains the longest straight stretch of railroad track in the world (297 miles), as well as the world's largest monolith (the majestic Uluru) and largest living thing (the Great Barrier Reef). He finds ridiculous place names: "Mullumbimby Ewylamartup, Jiggalong, and the supremely satisfying Tittybong," and manages to catch a cricket game on the radio, which is like

listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what's going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.

"You see," Bryson observes, "Australia is an interesting place. It truly is. And that really is all I'm saying." Of course, Bryson--who is as much a travel writer here as a humorist, naturalist, and historian--says much more, and does so with generous amounts of wit and hilarity. Australia may be "mostly empty and a long way away," but it's a little closer now. --Rob McDonald

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:14 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The author takes readers on a tour of the land Down Under that goes far beyond packaged-tour routes.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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