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Publisher's Summary

After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, the acclaimed author of such best sellers as The Mother Tongue and Made in America, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland, and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of modern-day Britain, and to analyze what he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, zebra crossings, and place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells. With wit and irreverence, Bill Bryson presents the ludicrous and the endearing in equal measure. The result is a social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain.
©1995 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Donna on 08-01-10

Great Read, Great Laugh

I've been a Bill Bryson fan for years now, and as funny as his books are, listening to this one definitely made it even more enjoyable. It was a bit embarrassing when I kept bursting out laughing in public, but it's a very small price to pay for the great entertainment.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Garry on 12-05-12

Bill at his Best

Would you consider the audio edition of Notes From a Small Island to be better than the print version?

Yes, in a book like this is better than printed.

What other book might you compare Notes From a Small Island to and why?

Well it has to be Down Under by Bill Bryson too. I am English by birth but now an Australian, I learned more about Australian history from Bill reading Down Under than others as he seems to pick those stories that is well, just darn more interesting. He does the same here about the English.

Which scene was your favorite?

Bacon and Eggs, early morning rain and cold... I remember it so well. Cold wind Swept port towns dark and closed. Yep remember those well.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Cringe maybe, as I have memories like these myself. Cringe in a nice way Bill.

Any additional comments?

Enjoyable, if you grew up in England through the 70's and 80's a lot of this will hit home. But for anyone else, it is still a fun read/listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Jo on 11-05-08

A Note From A Small Islander

I love Bill Bryson's book and this is, by far, my favourite.

It's a while since I heard this originally broadcast on Radio 4 and I'd forgotten how much better it is as a native Brit to hear it read in an american accent as it makes Bryson's journey and experiences more charming and entertaining.

I thoroughly recommend this, even for diehard fans of the book - it gives it a whole new perspective!

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful


By D. Mands on 03-07-13

Funny but sloppy.

If the town you live in is featured in this book Bryson is not likely to leave you with a feel good factor of your home. Though this book is typically Bryson with the genuinely funny moments you'd expect, as the book goes on it does seem to cross over in to a bit of a moan about anything and everything. Gets to the point where it becomes a little energy sapping. Though it's Bryson's style so I'm still a fan. What was unforgivable and the knocked off a star, were the factually incorrect parts that for such a smart man were enough to rock confidence in his travel accounts and revealed a previously unseen sloppiness in his writing. For instance, asserting Glasgow as the capital of Scotland was just one that stood out.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Adam Webb on 11-29-15

Just not for me

Some years ago I had read a Bryson novel regarding his observations of American culture. It was a great read and hence I was somewhat excited at the prospect of having one of Bryson's more popular works read to me.

I found it to be frankly dull. This flies in the face of the overwhelming majority of other reviews both here and Amazon. It just didn't do it for me which is a shame.

I tried restarting several times but alas, simply could not become enthusiastic. To my mind the narrator is fine, but the content had the flair of unleavened bread. I don't believe my standards for interest are overly high as I will happily watch a five day test cricket match.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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