“I am just picking up a random page (honestly) and gets to read sentences like: "It lends a faintly spooky air to the landscape that combines with the sultriness and humidity of the atmosphere to give the South its characteristic air of langour and Gothic mystery." ... 'nuff said! Stepehn Fry is both frighteningly intelligent and funny. His command and use of the Brittish english language is beyond compare. I will have to buy the BBC TV-series now.”Magnus Jahnsson wrote this review Friday, February 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Lovely and funny travelogue by Stephen Fry, extremely British and wonderful sense of humor. He is remarkably humble, but still very firm in beliefs and opinions.”Thomas Strömquist wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Two of my favourite things combined: Stephen Fry and the USA.
A complete pleasure to read. If I'm honest, I'm a little sad to have finished.”
“This was a charming view of America through the eyes of a foreigner. A fellow from Britain came over and visited each of the U.S.'s 50 states and wrote a little bit about each of them. I really enjoyed the anecdotes about his interactions with some very interesting people. He also included a sidebar about each state that listed some facts about the state. ”Rick B wrote this review Friday, July 29, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An interesting perspective on our 50 states. He is both critical and overwhelming in praise. The book also has a DVD (not included) following his trip.”Patrick Griffin wrote this review Thursday, June 30, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I know my rating isn't the least bit objective but I love the man, his language and his humor...pity he's so totally unavailable! sigh!”Arati wrote this review Monday, April 4, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I enjoyed Fry's sardonic British voice and narration over his little road trip all across America. However, the constraints of a single-volume book meant that he had to kind of skim over all of the states, only giving a brief, cursory look at each state. I am also bitter he skipped Los Angeles because everyone already knows about it or something. Bah! However, it's a book well worth reading for a fresh, foreign look at American travel and tourism. ”Aimee P wrote this review Monday, January 31, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting and witty, as would be expected of Stephen Fry.”Colin R wrote this review Tuesday, January 18, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A very entertaining book that actually taught me a lot about the other states. While I do wish he had done more than visit Arlington cemetery in Virginia and Asheville in North Carolina, he at least managed to stop in those states, which is more than Ohio, Delaware and Idaho can claim. Lots of room for a sequel and I can give him tons of recommendations of where to visit in VA and NC.”librarianwho wrote this review Tuesday, November 2, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“While I am not familiar with Stephen Fry's work, his reputation for humor and science advocacy lured me me into checking this book out. Fry introduces himself as someone who has always regarded America with a certain affection, having 'almost' been born there and having wondered since the age of ten what his life would have been like had he been in the United States. When invited to do a series on America, he opted to take a tour of each of its fifty states over the course of nearly a year, meeting the people and finding the 'real' America from the cozy confines of a black London taxi.
Fry gives the obvious tourist attractions a miss, preferring to beat the bushes and immerse himself in people's lives and local cultures, especially music. His direct approach takes him up in a hot-air balloon, on a tour of a body farm, into a coal mine, and into the depths of a submarine. Few tourists would make the ruined Lower Ninth Quarter or spend a night with the homeless, but Fry does -- and his celebrity allows him to access people and places far removed from poverty. He chats with Ted Turner at the Turner Bison ranch, hangs around with Morgan Freeman at the club Freeman owns, and participates in making an Oscar award. Most of the landscapes he visits are awe-inspiring, and the publisher indulges its readers with two-page landscape spreads.
I checked out the book in part because I wanted to witness an outsider reacting to America as he experienced it, and Fry provides reaction in abundance; reaction is the heart of comedy. Like Mary Roach, he plunges head-first into humiliating, awkward, and sometimes dangerous situations for the experience. The book isn't all humor and rapt awe: Fry is honestly trying to get a handle on what America is, and concludes that understanding America means understanding the regional cultures. In general, Fry finds trends in urban geography unsettling (commercial strips and chain stores ruining downtowns) and American cheese disgusting, but is constantly impressed by the nation's energy and optimism and ends the book a bigger fan of American than when he started.
Although the book is chiefly aimed at the BBC's audience, Americans will find plenty here to enjoy. Fry is entertaining, and his journey reveals some things I never knew myself -- like that Alaska is still influenced by its original status as a Russian colony,”