Rating: 5 out of 5
My main fault with this book is that it’s old — in many cases, this doesn’t matter, but especially here so much of the commentary looks towards Reagan and his United States. It would be a thrill to see Mr Bryson re-do this journey for a new commentary. As it stands, ‘The Lost Continent’ is a good way of looking at the late 80’s in much of the Midwest.
As ever happens, this author goes slightly over the top but, in general, the observations and pointed and truthful. I’m sure that many people travelling in the same area even now can have similar experiences — at least a few seemed to run true for me across the decades — whether in arriving at a place where there’s nowhere to go to or in the small talk that happens there.
Mr Bryson’s words can also be read as a description of the unbridled pride that the small town people take in their own locations — whether it is a season fair, a giant fruit, or whatever other local attraction people have come up with, there’s plenty that makes up the world to the locals which someone coming from the outside cannot understand. We’re not meant to, and the author knows this — yet, that makes the ways of those people so much stranger to us.
I’d recommend this though less than other works by Mr Bryson (until we get a three/four decades’ on version).