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Stephen Fry in America

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,532 Ratings  ·  232 Reviews
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
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Hardcover, 316 pages
Published October 2008 by Harper Collins (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kirsty
Aug 09, 2009 Kirsty rated it it was amazing
This book was really interesting. I've always been fascinated by America and after reading this book I have even more of a desire to spend time there exploring.

Each state is covered, some in more detail than others. I liked the fact that he focused on things that readers may not have known about each state rather than going for the obvious things. I do feel that some of the states were a little short-changed. I know that he had a timescale to stick to in getting around all the states, but for t
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Caroline
May 20, 2015 Caroline rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish, world
I did not get on well with Master Fry in this instance.

Partly it's because I like things covered in reasonable depth...and this did not happen on Fry's trip to America in 2007/8. Here he covers 50 states in about 26 weeks - therefore giving about 2 weeks to each state, and the book is full of snips. In Massachusetts there is a snip about whaling, then we are whipped off to meet the historical role-playing inmates of The Mayflower, and from there off to Salem, where we are given a snip about the
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Wendy
Nov 21, 2015 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen
This beautiful book allows the reader to travel around all fifty states with Stephen Fry, friendly foreigner. Full of wit, history, points of scientific interest, points of regional interest, and just generally interesting facts, this is so much more than the accompaniment for a television series. A few pages for each state may seem like too little, especially for places like Missouri where most is given over to the homeless of St Louis, but Fry finds something to love almost everywhere. Of cour ...more
Chris G Derrick
Jul 02, 2015 Chris G Derrick rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
First let me say that I enjoyed the read.
However, factual travel books (such as Rough Guides, Lonely Planet) are one thing. They set out the sights to see, the accomodation and you make your choice if you wish to follow their advice.
A personal travel book is, in my mind, vastly different. Going by the last paragraph of his introduction it seems this is what he's set out to write.
It comes back to the 'One man's meat is another man's poison' saying.
In 2011 we drove 8500 miles across the US - from
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Keryl Raist
Oct 10, 2010 Keryl Raist rated it really liked it
Maybe I should start by saying that I am an American? Or maybe the fact that I'm also a long term Stephen Fry fan? Possibly the fact that I'm a major anglophile is relevant?

That all of these things are true definitely formed my opinion on this book. I enjoyed it immensely. It was a light, quick, little jaunt through the USA with a friendly and fond citizen of a country much like us, but still very much not us.

For the US reader, Stephen Fry is very, very British. His language, British English, wi
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Jenny Sparrow
Dec 17, 2015 Jenny Sparrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
И снова книга-должок, которая ждала своего часа несколько лет. Было время, я увлекалась Стивеном Фраем-писателем и перечитала многое из того, что он написал. Эта книга так долго лежала в шкафу потому, что она по размеру большая, и её не потаскаешь с собой в сумочке, чтобы почитать в очереди или в транспорте. А вот сидя дома в отпуске читать её удобно :)

Эта книга представляет собой рассказ-путешествие по всем 50 американским штатам, которое предпринял Стивен Фрай на рубеже 2007-2008 годов. Он про
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vylit
Apr 05, 2010 vylit rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010, nonfiction
I wanted to love this book, I really did, and I think in a lot of ways the miniseries is actually more charming and entertaining.

I was interested to see his impressions of the different states and the variety one encounters while traveling across this country. I knew that the impressions would likely be superficial simply because of the amount of time he had to travel and the sheer space that he had to traverse. However, even given that, I just don't think the book was very good.

Yes, he did skip
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Koen Crolla
Stephen Fry is a twit. And I say this having been a fan for a long time.

He approaches the US with an xenophilic infatuation, happily unencumbered by any deep knowledge of the country's history, people, or politics (past or present). He is aware of the Civil War and at least some of the civil rights struggles, but to him, racism is a thing of the past, bigots are non-existent or at least vanishingly small in numbers, and everyone and everything is peachy keen.
This could have been an interesting b
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Santhosh
Taken strictly as an accompaniment to the popular documentary of the same name catering to a British audience, this book is a decent enough read. My complaint is that things aren't covered in any depth as the emphasis is on setting foot in all 50 states to cover things that are either accessible only to a BBC shoot or would show up well on TV. You know, stuff like attending primary meets with Mitt Romney, horse trading, bourbon brewing, touring a coal mine, Americanisation talks with Hmongs, per ...more
Rex Fuller
Mar 15, 2014 Rex Fuller rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, no stress, easy read. Fry is typical British, except that he loves America and Americans--very nice to see. He gives an entertaining and little known fact or two about every single State.
Julie
May 05, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, travel
I've been reading this off and on for quite awhile now. It's a good "filler" book to read a bit of here and there .( or just as good to read all at once, I'm sure ) .
Stephen Fry decides to travel to all 50 states . He doesn't do this as a grueling task , like some people ride a bike across or drive continually through all the states in one big long adventure . He takes a few breaks in between visiting all the states .
He does a really nice job with this book. I love reading travel books , and t
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Jenny
May 07, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it
The companion to a TV Series / DVD of the same name, "Stepen Fry in America" is (surprisingly!) a record of Stephen Fry's journey through the 50 states of America. What the book provides is a unique, sometimes insightful and sometimes sadly shallow view of each of the states.

I say shallow because, obviously Mr. Fry and his TV crew were on a schedule to complete their trip within a certain time frame, and consequently certain states receive only a brief stop and a page of discussion. Yet, these
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Bronwyn
Aug 24, 2011 Bronwyn rated it really liked it
As a resident of the U.S., I was intrigued to see an ‘outside’ perspective of this country.

Yes, I picked it up and flipped to my home state to see where he went and if I'd been there. Of course, how egotistical we all are- sigh. No it wasn't MY hometown, or MY favorite area of the state- or that state. My typically narcissistic disappointment was quickly surpassed with utter fascination in reading about where Mr Fry DID go. I learned a lot from this book about places that were not so far away
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Rinn
Jan 17, 2015 Rinn rated it liked it
Also posted on my book blog, Rinn Reads.

I somehow completely missed watching this TV series when it was on air a couple of years ago. I've always been aware of it, and caught the occasional bit of an episode (always the same one... about the Body Farm. Normally whilst eating.), but never watched much of it.

I learnt quite a bit whilst reading this book - although I think I could probably name every state, and had a general idea of where each one was located, I previously couldn't tell you much ab
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Linda
Sep 20, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
I liked this book so much that I didn't want it to end. I rationed myself just a couple of states per day, and ended up with Alaska and Hawaii left unread when our book group met to discuss it. Oops.

It reminded me a lot of the Michael Palin travel books, except with a bit more Fry and a little less Python.

Everyone has a beef about how their state was treated by Mr. Fry, and I am no exception. Honestly, a dozen theories of how we came to be called Hoosiers? And then he dismisses all of them? I'm
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Liza Gilbert
Nov 30, 2011 Liza Gilbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit I was biased before I even read this book. I am a long-time admirer and fan of Mr. Fry, and I consider him to be somewhat of a national treasure in the United Kingdom. So, when I stumbled across this book at my library I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Fry decided to try and understand the nature of Americans and visit the beautiful landscapes of our country by going state by state through the Union. What could have been a slap-dash travelogue instead turned out to be a very insigh
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Ed
Oct 26, 2008 Ed rated it really liked it
Outline: Stephen Fry decides to travel through each state in America in a black London cab. Mainly for the purposes of creating a TV show, which I haven't seen much of so far. Maybe I'll buy the DVD.

This was an enjoyable read, which only fueled my desire to see more of the US. As usual with books like this, I didn't want it to end as it felt like I was along for the journey too. If only there were more states!

I have to say, though, that this wasn't really what you'd call a 'real' journey, as in
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Susanne
Dec 07, 2009 Susanne rated it it was amazing
Stephen Fry really "gets" America. And I say this even though he compared my hometown to a "digestive biscuit" (which are yummy but not in any way exotic). :)

The US really is 50 different countries - each state has its own bit of uniqueness. And yes, a few states were glossed over, but the US is also freakin' HUGE, man. As in GIGANTIC. As in VAST. As in most *Americans* will never see them all. That said, I do hope he comes back and does the bits he missed.

This being Stephen Fry, the book is wit
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Kitty Jay
Jan 16, 2016 Kitty Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sean
The estimable Stephen Fry tours the 50 states, offering his unique views as he meets with famous people and everyday folk, learns the culture of each state, and takes in the sights. With typical wit and poshness, Mr. Fry documents his experiences and gives a taste of each state's particular culture.

I will admit upfront that this book may have played to my ego a bit; Americans are often regarded as being uncivil, crass, rude, materialistic, and unintelligent, which is a bit of an annoyance to tho
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Teresa
Dec 12, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it
As I closed the final page of this book, I was CONSUMED with patriotism. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the impression my country made on a Briton and it made me happy to read of the author enjoying (and disliking) some of the same things I feel. I would like Stephen Fry to write the narration of my experiences to see if the memories coincide.Although there are lots of pictures, the book felt more like anthropology than a coffee table book. There's lots to learn about "my people".
Stefani Akins
Oct 22, 2014 Stefani Akins rated it really liked it
This is the companion book to a BBC documentary Stephen Fry did about six years ago. I always find it interesting to learn how other people meet the US, and as a European myself, I can only nod my head at some of the customs Fry finds odd. Of course, if you are familiar with any of Stephen Fry's work, you already know that he's a finely nuanced, eloquent writer, which is something else I enjoy very much. Add to that lots of beautiful pictures from most of the 50 states, and you've got a very rea ...more
Elaine Meszaros
Dec 03, 2014 Elaine Meszaros rated it it was amazing
British actor and comedian Stephen Fry (Jeeves of Jeeves and Wooster fame) is that rare breed of European - one who actually likes Americans. In his attempt to show his British audiences that we aren't all a bunch of loud, vulgar, gun-toting religious nuts he undertakes a project to visit all 50 states...in a black British taxi. Many of his visits are more than just tourist spots. He visits the boarder patrol in Texas, the homeless in Oklahoma and Hmong food stores in Minnesota. He also visits T ...more
Chris
Mar 17, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
I found this book great fun to read and very educational, I'm a fan of Stephen Fry anyway and watched the TV show he made of the same title.

The book covers each and every state in the US which Fry personally visited on a whistlestop trip in his London taxi cab. Each chapter is full of information about each state, its own unique history and what there is to see. Having said that this book isn't a trourist guidebook at all and often overlooks famous landmarks. The point of the book is to find out
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norcalgal
Jul 23, 2015 norcalgal rated it it was amazing
I watched all episodes of Fry's series in America, and absolutely LOVED this companion book! In it, he expands on his adventures as seen on the episodes. Also, it was not exactly a complete rehashing of the happenings in the DVD/tv episodes, as the book tells of his adventures that could not be aired/viewed.

I adored Fry's witty, acerbic, wry sense of humor, and outlook on America. It was a good thing that he did not venture into the "touristy" parts of all 50 states. Because of that, as an Ameri
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Alix
May 22, 2015 Alix rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, travel, non-fiction
I really wanted to like this book; unfortunately, I did not. I would give it a 2.5 stars if I could, but had to go for the 2. While reading, only a few times did I find myself chuckling... and that was generous.

Things I thought could be improved:
1. If a book jacket's description indicates that the traveler visited each state and that a report on each state was included in the book... then the traveler should at least VISIT EACH STATE. There is no excuse for just stepping up to the state sign for
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Lee Dunning
Mar 03, 2015 Lee Dunning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing you need to remember, assuming you're American, is that this book was not written for you. It was written for our cousins across the pond, and as such won't necessarily conform to the traditional Chamber of Commerce routine of showing only the positive and featuring only the most exciting tourist attractions. If you can approach this book with the understanding Mr. Fry brings to the table his own bias, and an interest in presenting some of the less known aspects of the states to ...more
Snailes
Dec 02, 2015 Snailes rated it really liked it
Stephen Fry is a peculiar person and therefore his approach of getting to know the US is special but he always manages to find interesting people. I especially liked to see how he covered the places that are dear to me, but you should watch the TV series as well.
Jessica
Jun 18, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
I really enjoyed this cursory over view of America from the perspective of an outsider glimpsing in. It's helped me figure out which states I still want to visit and which I might pass on.
Sarah
An entertaining and humorous account of one very British man's quest to visit all 50 states. Fry doesn't hold back one bit, and his superciliousness can be a little trying at times, but he owns his statements. The fish out of water element is strong here, and entertaining. And Fry's transformation over the months of his travels, from the pasty white bumblef*ck in Maine to the tanned white bumblef*ck in Hawaii is remarkable. The biggest gripe I have is that this book lacked editing, with obvious ...more
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Stephen John Fry is an English comedian, writer, actor, humourist, novelist, poet, columnist, filmmaker, television personality and technophile. As one half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his comedy partner, Hugh Laurie, he has appeared in A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. He is also famous for his roles in Blackadder and Wilde, and as the host of QI. In addition to writing fo ...more
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“Somewhere along the line the American love affair with wilderness changed from the thoughtful, sensitive isolationism of Thoreau to the bully, manly, outdoorsman bravado of Teddy Roosevelt. It is not for me, as an outsider, either to bemoan or celebrate this fact, only to observe it. Deep in the male American psyche is a love affair with the backwoods, log-cabin, camping-out life.

There is no living creature here that cannot, in its right season, be hunted or trapped. Deer, moose, bear, squirrel, partridge, beaver, otter, possum, raccoon, you name it, there's someone killing one right now. When I say hunted, I mean, of course, shot at with a high-velocity rifle. I have no particular brief for killing animals with dogs or falcons, but when I hear the word 'hunt' I think of something more than a man in a forage cap and tartan shirt armed with a powerful carbine. In America it is different. Hunting means 'man bonding with man, man bonding with son, man bonding with pickup truck, man bonding with wood cabin, man bonding with rifle, man bonding above all with plaid'.”
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“The maple brings tourists who come to marvel at the blazing colours of the autumn leaves and it brings cash dollars in the form of the unctuous, faintly metallic syrup that Americans like to pour all over their breakfast, on waffles and pancakes certainly, but on bacon too. Sounds alarming to English ears, but actually it is rather delicious. Like crack, crystal meth, and Chocolate HobNobs, one nibble and you're hooked for life.” 1 likes
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