Book Reviews of Down Under

Down Under
Down Under
Author: Bill Bryson
ISBN-13: 9780552997034
ISBN-10: 055299703X
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 463
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 14 ratings
Publisher: Transworld Pub
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

49 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Down Under on
Helpful Score: 12
I LOVED this book. I have never laughed out loud so much and learned so much (and also been moved by social injustices) all in one book.

If you only read one travel book in your life, make it this one.

There *might* be more educational ones, but none can be as entertaining. There *might* be funnier ones, but none could teach you as much at the same time.
reviewed Down Under on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I stumbled onto Bill Bryson a couple of years ago and really enjoyed A Walk in the Woods, so I decided to get a copy of this book. As good as A Walk was, this was even better! There were passages that had me laughing so hard I was afraid of waking up my sleeping husband. Passges that I found so funny that I read them to my loved ones - sometimes more than once (oops!) What I like about Bryson is his passion, his quirky sense of humor, and his ability to throw in tons of useful knowledge and not make you feel overwhelmed by it. He makes some profound points about important issues without getting preachy but rather so simply you wonder how there's ever been any debate on that particular matter. He notices things that I would likely overlook - and then shows me how much I would have missed by doing so. I love that he is a lover of people and a deliberate loner BOTH at the same time. This book made me take a long hard look at whether or not my ambition to go to Australia is such a good idea - and at the same time made me wish I was already there. I HIGHLY reccomend this book!
reviewed Down Under on + 67 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Australia really is a very, very different country. Another great mix of history, information, wit and humor. GReat descriptions of the people and culture of Oz. And after all, the worst sunburn of my life was in Australia so I think it is a very fitting title.

'ave a go at this one mate!
reviewed Down Under on
Helpful Score: 5
Read this over several lunches and laughed so hard I snorted salsa (twice) and diet coke (once). He's informative, descriptive and can turn a phrase sharper than he can turn a corner! You're reading along and suddenly something hilarious just sneaks up on you and BAM!
reviewed Down Under on + 75 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The beginning was a little slow for me, but I really got into the book a few chapters in. Bryson is very descriptive and you can almost picture yourself enduring some of his hilarious encounters with the Aussie animals or traveling through the outback! I've always wanted to visit Australia, and after reading this book - and learning quite a few new facts - I want to visit even more! Highly recommended!

The only thing that drove me nuts, is the print seemed to be a little smaller than most books (or maybe it was just my eyes...) But it was kind of difficult to read, sometimes I felt like it needed to be magnified. If you have trouble reading small print, I'd suggest getting the audio book or finding out if there is a large print version.
reviewed Down Under on + 352 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This a a delightful book...although a bit long. Bill Bryson has become one of my favorite authors. I have never been a person with a great desire to travel abroad, but this book makes me really want to visit Australia.
From the cover...Despite the fact that Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else, including sharks, crocodiles, snakes, even rip-tides and deserts, Bill Bryson adores the place and he takes his readers on a rollicking ride far beyond the beaten tourist path. Wherever he goes he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging, and these beaming products of a land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine fill the pages of this wonderful book. Australia is an immense and fortunate land, and it has found in Bill Bryson its perfect guide.
reviewed Down Under on + 180 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
As my son prepared to spend a year in Australia, I picked up this book to see what he was getting into. As usual, Bryson educates and entertains the reader. I've read a lot of fiction set in Australia, but this book was the first one I've read which gave me a good sense of the country, the sights, and the great distances involved in traveling around Australia.

Loved this book, it got me so excited about visiting the country myself!
reviewed Down Under on
Helpful Score: 1
Very funny! In fact, it simulteneously made me want to go to Australia and not want to go to Australia. It sounds intriguing and entertaining, but dangerous. So many of the plants and animals want to kill us. Geeze!

Great descriptions of the major cities here. And the open spaces between. Overall, another great humor book by Bryson. Gotta love him.
reviewed Down Under on
Helpful Score: 1
This book was amazing. Not only did I learn a lot about Australia, I was introduced to some very interesting characters at the same time. I would highly recommend this one.
reviewed Down Under on + 209 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really liked this book. Learned a lot about the immensity of Australia. The distances between places is mind boggling. Bryson makes it all fun!
reviewed Down Under on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a funny traveler's tale of Australia-and it's true.
reviewed Down Under on + 318 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful! Even tho I've no plans to visit Australia, this book is funny and entertaining.
reviewed Down Under on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Bill Bryson is a master at travel literature, and one of the most entertaining writers I have read. You will learn much about Australia (its peoples, dangers, peculiarities, and so on), and never look at Australia the same again.
reviewed Down Under on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Part history, part travel. Gives a nice little tour of the land down under.
reviewed Down Under on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Must read for anyone travelling to Oz.
reviewed Down Under on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Bill Bryson is just excellent!
reviewed Down Under on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Everytime Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. In a Sunburned Country is his report on what he found in an entirely different place: Australia.
reviewed Down Under on + 50 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a great book -- humerous, well written (although he really does like the word 'antipodean'-- I had to go look it up). His sentences just flow, his musings are funny and the book is chock full of interesting information. I do hope to get to Australia some day.
reviewed Down Under on + 441 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
If you've read the author's famed "A Walk in the Woods" (recently adapted for film), you know the format. The author wanders an area, and describes what he sees mixed in with the history and science of the area. This time, Bryson takes on the island continent of Australia.

I found the book to provide a largely enjoyable tour of the country, taking in at least a point or two from the top, bottom, right, left, and center of the continent. In some cases, Bryson talked about something everyone has heard of Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House. In others, the author brings up things that many folks, at least many in America, may never have heard about. For example, the shifting of fortunes between the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. All of this is done in a light, entertaining, and occasionally self-deprecating manner.

I had both the audio book and paperback versions of the author's work. The paperback also contained a new appendix reprinting some enjoyable articles that Bryson wrote during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. I wish the CDs included this material, but it was nice being able to actually READ the words.

RATING: 4 1/2 stars, rounded up to 5 stars when 1/2 stars are not permitted.
reviewed Down Under on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I love Bill Bryson...and so far all of his books that I have read have been very interesting and his humor is so fresh and enjoyable!!
reviewed Down Under on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was an utterly delightful book. Since I could not afford to go to Australia, I decided to experience it vicariously. And I cannot imagine a more interesting, humorous, and charming guide than Bill Bryson. I would listen to the book as I drove back and forth to work every day, and would laugh aloud at his wry observations and entertaining stories. I was sad as the last tape ended, but came back and immediately ordered two more of his books on tape -- now off to England and the Appalachian trail
reviewed Down Under on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
As expected from Bill Bryson, this is an outstanding read. Funny and very well researched. A must-read for anyone traveling to Australia. Not your typical guide book, but essential reading.
reviewed Down Under on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is definitely not a quick read. It is so packed with information you have to give your brain time to absorb it all. I loved this book. There is so much I never knew about Australia and it makes me want to go visit it and learn more about it.
reviewed Down Under on + 2 more book reviews
Excellent travel book! One of Bryson's best.
reviewed Down Under on + 2 more book reviews
A funny and fascinating look at the land down under. There are a lot of things that will kill you in Australia, and Bill Bryson will tell you about all of them. This book was so good, I want to read everything he's ever written.
reviewed Down Under on + 2 more book reviews
I have read a few of Bill Bryson's books but found this one to be the most enjoyable.

It is a travelogue with a touch of humor which made me want to travel the country and meet the people. In my view he truly loves Australia and it shows.

For me it is one of the very few books that I intend to re-read in the future.
reviewed Down Under on + 30 more book reviews
Fun read! Bryson is such an astute observer of life and people and expresses himself with such wit and creativity. Always a fun trip when he is your guide.
reviewed Down Under on + 181 more book reviews
Absolutely hilarious and fascinating! This book made me want to move to quirky ol' Australia, except that I recently read in National Geographic that the Australians are working just as hard as the rest of the world to destroy their rather large expanse of the planet. I'd at least like to visit, though.
reviewed Down Under on
This is one of the most entertaining travel logs I have read. Bryson is witty, observant and has a deep love for Australia. If you are traveling there or just want a light read then this is a great book to pick up. The best part is that you are entertained and actually learn about the history and current situation of Australia while doing it!
reviewed Down Under on + 12 more book reviews
Excellent book for anyone planning a trip to Australia.
reviewed Down Under on + 36 more book reviews
I had read Bill Bryson's book "Down Under" and enjoyed it so very much with all his witticisms, history, travel info, blunders and adventures that I thought I'd read this other book about Australia. Imagine my surprise when "In a Sunburned Country" turned out to be an alternate name for "Down Under"!! Read it again just for a second round of enjoyment.
reviewed Down Under on + 96 more book reviews
I think youll enjoy this book. Youll walk, ride, boat right along with Bill Bryson as he explores the cities, the coast and the outback. He gives a straightforward, first-hand account of the beauty and extreme dangers that are Australia. It is a humorous but in-depth look at this amazing country. A highly descriptive narrative. Wish he had included pictures, but apparently thats what the internet is for because there are literally thousands of them up there about Australia and the places Bryson visited and the amazing things he saw! Gday mates!
reviewed Down Under on + 5 more book reviews
As always, enjoyed this Bill Bryson. He is a fascinating and entertaining author!
reviewed Down Under on + 161 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this humorous romp thru Australia and learned a lot as well. I highly recommend it for anyone traveling to Australia
reviewed Down Under on
Bill Bryson does Australia.
reviewed Down Under on + 6040 more book reviews
Bryson relates stories from 3 different trips to Australia. Sort of grows on you, Bryson is pretty good at appearing non-heroic in his vacations. In fact, I think I had just as much adventure as he did in Australia; I, too, like visiting roadside attractions shaped like giant fruit; I had the added bonus of not having experience driving on the proper side of the road.
reviewed Down Under on
I laughed so hard I had to pull over to the side of the freeway!
reviewed Down Under on + 22 more book reviews
HILARIOUS! Bill Bryson is, truely, the best best author of humor writing on the market!! Having been to Australia twice myself, I found many of the tales outrageously funny from exerience! Be assured that if Bill Bryson wrote it, you will laugh your funny bone off!
reviewed Down Under on
Terrific book describing a seasoned traveler, touring through Australia. He describes his journey in detail, and gives the reader a real insight into the country and what is found there.
reviewed Down Under on + 12 more book reviews
Bill Bryson is reliably funny.
reviewed Down Under on + 52 more book reviews
"In a Sunburned Country" is classic Bill Bryson - humor, wit, random education. I always find myself pondering why he choose to focus on the things he does, and not others. As usual, Mr. Bryson challenges the reader to open their eyes and see the world differently...or at least from his humble perspective. Having traveled to Australia, I did find myself relating in some small ways to his experience.
reviewed Down Under on + 3 more book reviews
MUST READ!!!!! This is SUCH a good book. I would highly suggest getting it on audiobook though for the full effect of Bryson's humor!
reviewed Down Under on + 49 more book reviews
A view of Australia by the famed author.
reviewed Down Under on
This is the British title for the "In a Sunburned Country" by Bill Bryson, in case you have already read that one! I got both, thinking they were different. Oh, well...

This is a funny and well-written book. Lots of typical Bryson anecdotes, stories and strong opinions. I liked the portion about the outback the most, although I think Bryson is the most opinionated here. He seems to dislike any kind of progress--or what he perceives as progress--including stores and "American" mini malls in Alice Springs, for example. Having grown up in a small desert town in the US that to this day features almost no stores, theaters,other entertainment, including bookstores!, etc. I would have appreciated a few more amenities in my world miles away from everywhere and miles without public transportation. Bryson, who has mostly lived in Britain (so have I so I can attest to this), has many amenities at his finger tips even if he supposedly doesn't like them! Or he could travel easily and attain them.

That being said, Bryson captures the essence of Australia from a tourist, travel writer's point of view--or at least his! Wonderful!
reviewed Down Under on + 3 more book reviews
As with every Bryson book I read It is a humorous take on Australia, some reall laugh out loud moments.- Enjoy
reviewed Down Under on + 35 more book reviews
good read
reviewed Down Under on + 11 more book reviews
Not quite the masterpiece I expected after reading about his travails on the Appalachian Trail, however, it is very informative and worth reading if you are interested in Australia.
reviewed Down Under on + 473 more book reviews
Makes you want to visit Austrailia.
reviewed Down Under on
Read part of it but got bored.