Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry

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Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry

Britain's best-loved comic genius Stephen Fry turns his celebrated wit and insight to unearthing the real America as he travels across the continent i...

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Review of "Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry"

published 06/01/2016 | steerpyke
Member since : 13/02/2004
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About me :
musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, thinker of deep thoughts, quantum spanner, zenarchist. People have woken up to worse.
Pro wonderful overview of a vast and diverse country
Cons could have been a book 3 times the size and still worked well
very helpful
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"An Englishman abroad"

Often countries are best written about by someone from outside. A stranger who can see it for the first time with wide eyed bewilderment and an innocent joy, unhampered by the intricacies of the place, the daily realities, the newsfeeds and the politics. Writers such as Michael Palin and Bill Bryson have done this to great and popular effect and even comedians such as Reg D Hunter and Ricky Gervais have shown that the nature of a place can be better summed up in concise and broad form by a traveller from a foreign land. Maybe they are only exploring the idea of a place, but when aimed at the modern, popularist market, maybe that is all we need.

With that in mind, Stephen Fry was the perfect choice to make a TV travelogue spanning all 50 states of America. His natural optimism, self confessed love of the country, effortless charm and wit make for as good a host as any and the 6 part BBC series Stephen Fry in America, which saw him drive a London black cab in search of the country’s heart was a great success. So naturally there had to be a book to accompany it.

The book is divided into 5 rough geographical areas, New England and The East Coast; The South East and Florida; The Deep South to The Great Lakes (following the route up the Mississippi River;) The Rockies, The Great Plains and Texas; The Southwest, The West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii. Large areas all and then within each of these there is a chapter regarding each state. As expected of a country this vast, the cultural diversity and character of the various regions are as different as individual European countries.

Anti-Americanism may be on the rise these days, but that view of America is one created by foreign policy, military actions, political leaders, film stars and TV evangelists. Thankfully this book veers away from such alien strata and explores the country through the lives of they everyday American, its popular culture, its people and their history.

From creating new ice-cream flavours with Ben and Jerry, to deer hunting in the Adirondacks, from the battlefield of Gettysburg to a Southern thanksgiving, following the great Mississippi from New Orleans at Mardi Gras to ice fishing in Minnesota, the variation and sheer scope of the continent unfolds. Bison ranches on the Great Plains, the homeless in Oklahoma, flying in a B-17 to the glitz of Las Vegas, through Oregon forests and meetings with Inupiat whalers and finally swimming with sharks in Hawaii, the journey is breath-taking.

As an accompaniment to the TV show the book makes for a great coffee table item, something to pick up, read a few pages over a hot beverage, but it also serves as the most basic of travel guide, at least one that might be the impetus for you to want to read more about a certain part of the country.

What also comes through is Fry’s love of the country, its youthful optimism, its drive, its charm, friendliness and excitement. For someone seen as the epitome of Englishness he makes the perfect advert for America. And this comes through clearly in his writing laced with the usual wit and friendly joshing.

As a Sunday Times best seller it obviously has broad appeal but the combination of the author and the subject fall perfectly together and Stephen Fry’s wonderful exuberance is enough to have you getting the maps out, tracing route 66 and looking up the cost of car hire in America.

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Comments on this review

  • justarube published 17/02/2017
    good review
  • anonymili published 30/03/2016
    Good stuff
  • MAFARRIMOND published 10/01/2016
    I enjoyed the television series so would probably enjoy the book.
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Product Information : Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry

Manufacturer's product description

Britain's best-loved comic genius Stephen Fry turns his celebrated wit and insight to unearthing the real America as he travels across the continent in his black taxicab. Stephen's account of his adventures is filled with his unique humour, insight and warmth in this beautifully illustrated book that accompanies his journey for the BBC1 series. 'Stephen Fry is a treasure of the British Empire.' - The Guardian Stephen Fry has always loved America, in fact he came very close to being born there. Here, his fascination for the country and its people sees him embarking on an epic journey across America, visiting each of its 50 states to discover how such a huge diversity of people, cultures, languages, beliefs and landscapes combine to create such a remarkable nation. Starting on the eastern seaboard, Stephen zig-zags across the country in his London taxicab, talking to its hospitable citizens, listening to its music, visiting its landmarks, viewing small-town life and America's breath-taking landscapes - following wherever his curiosity leads him. Stephen meets a collection of remarkable individuals - American icons and unsung local heroes alike.Stephen starts his epic journey on the east coast and zig-zags across America, stopping in every state from Maine to Hawaii.En route he discovers the South Side of Chicago with blues legend Buddy Guy, catches up with Morgan Freeman in Mississippi, strides around with Ted Turner on his Montana ranch, marches with Zulus in New Orleans' Mardi Gras, and drums with the Sioux Nation in South Dakota; joins a Georgia family for thanksgiving, 'picks' with Bluegrass hillbillies, and finds himself in a Tennessee garden full of dead bodies. Whether in a club for failed gangsters (yes, those are real bullet holes) or celebrating Halloween in Salem (is there anywhere better?), Stephen is welcomed by the people of America - mayors, sheriffs, newspaper editors, park rangers, teachers and hobos, bringing to life the oddities and splendours of each locale. A celebration of the magnificent and the eccentric, the beautiful and the strange, Stephen Fry in America is our author's homage to this extraordinary country.

Product Details

EAN: 9780007266340

Type: Non-Fiction

Genre: Reference

Title: Stephen Fry in America

Author: Stephen Fry

Release Date: 02-Oct-12

ISBN: 7266340


Listed on Ciao since: 14/10/2008