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Bill Bryson on his most personal journey yet: into his own childhood in America's Mid-West.

Bill Bryson’s first travel book opened with the immortal line, ‘I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.’ In this deeply funny and personal memoir, he travels back in time to explore the ordinary kid he once was, in the curious world of 1950s Middle America. It was a happy time, when almost everything was good for you, including DDT, cigarettes and nuclear fallout. This is a book about one boy’s growing up. But in Bryson’s hands, it becomes everyone’s story, one that will speak volumes – especially to anyone who has ever been young.

Reviews

A wittily incisive book about innocence, and its limits, but in no sense an innocent book... Like Alan Bennett, another ironist posing as a sentimentalist, Bryson can play the teddy-bear and then deliver a sudden, grizzly-style swipe... might tell us as much about the oddities of the American way as a dozen think-tanks

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

A funny, effortlessly readable, quietly enchanted memoir... Bryson also provides a quirky social history of America... he always manages to slam on the brakes with a good joke just when things might get sentimental

Daily Mail

Characteristic mixture of bemused wit, acerbic astonishment and sweet benevolence... Evocation of an era is near perfect: tender, hilarious and true

The Times

Outlandishly and improbably entertaining... inevitably [I] would be reduced to body-racking, tear-inducing, de-couching laughter

The New York Times

Seriously funny

The Sunday Times

Hilarious... not your typical travel writer

Sunday Telegraph

Funny, wise, learned and compulsive

GQ

Not only hilarious but also insightful and informative

Independent on Sunday

Always witty and sometimes hilarious... wonderfully funny and touching

Literary Review

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784161811

    January 4, 2016

    Black Swan

    384 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

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  • EBook

    9781409095781

    May 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    384 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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  • Audio CD

    9780552153652

    September 1, 2006

    Corgi Audio

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au