Genre: Arts, History & Current Affairs
Published: 1 January 1989
Publisher: Black Swan

The Lost Continent

by Bill Bryson


After living for ten years in England, Bill Bryson returned to America, and drove almost 14,000 miles in search of a mythical town called Amalgam — the kind of smiling village where the films of his youth were set. Instead he drove through a series of horrific burgs which he renamed Smellville, Fartville, Coleslaw, Dead Squaw, Coma, Doldrum. At best his search led him to Anywhere, USA, a look-alike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by obese and slow-witted hicks with a partiality for synthetic fibres. He found a continent that was doubly lost: lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a foreigner in his own country.

"High-spirited... hilarious" - Observer
"Hilarious... he can be suave, sarcastic and very funny... not your typical travel writer" - Sunday Telegraph
"Funny as this wonderful book is, it is also a serious indictment of the American way of life and the direction in which it is going... he is genuinely shocked, as we are, by the statistics of affluence, poverty, crime and culture that he drops in hither and thither" - Irish Times
"A very funny performance, littered with wonderful lines and memorable images" - Literary Review