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Stephen Fry in America

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,686 ratings  ·  197 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.
Hardcover, 316 pages
Published October 2008 by Harper Collins (first published 2008)
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Kirsty
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...more
Wendy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caroline
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...more
Keryl Raist
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...more
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
vylit
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...more
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...more
Rex Fuller
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.
Jenny
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...more
Bronwyn
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...more
Rinn
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 about them. For instance, I never had any...more
Linda
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...more
Liza Gilbert
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...more
Emma
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...more
Susanne
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...more
Chris
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...more
Jessica
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
Jessica
First, I love Stephen Fry.
I've loved him since I first saw him in Blackadder. I love hearing him speak, and I love his turns of phrase, and if I could have anyone narrate my life story, it would be him.
So it didn't surprise me that I loved hearing his take on America. What did surprise me is how fair he was about the states he visited, and how positive he was about the people he met. This gentleman spent an afternoon on the campaign trail with Mitt Romney, and I can't recall a negative thing Fry...more
Kathy
Actor-novelist-critic Stephen Fry traveled around the U.S. in a London taxi for over a year, filming quirky comic segments in every state for a BBC-TV documentary. Stephen Fry in America, the companion book to the series, was written specifically for U.K. readers and attempts to explain the sheer size of the former Colonies and the differences in climate, food, and attitude found from state to state. Wherever possible, Fry worked hands-on for a day in a locally associated profession (coal mining...more
Artur Coelho
Escrito para acompanhar a série do mesmo título da BBC, este é um relato de uma viagem em que Fry, conhecido actor, escritor e essencialmente representante da elegância da língua inglesa, atravessou num táxi londrino os cinquenta estados da américa. Para relato de viagens, é superficial e deixa de lado o mais interessante na literatura de viagens - as reflexões sobre os estados de alma despertados pela deambulação em novos territórios. Também não se centra nos pontos mais esperados. Fry não pret...more
Leanne

I probably would have enjoyed this book more were I not American. As it is, I already knew many of the facts presented in this book. Some were new, however, and Stephen Fry is utterly delightful, and his adventures interesting. Most of the charm of the book for me was actually found in Stephen Fry being funny, gently poking fun at things.


Each state has a few pages to itself. Some had about ten, and others only had two. A few states got almost no attention at all, probably due to the fast paced s

...more
Joanna
Damn, Stephen Fry can get bitch-ay. He hates so hard on hicks and bros! So *charming*. But he's obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and Wodehouse so he could flat out murder someone for having a big truck and guns and faith in God and he'll still be in my good books. Bah, who am I kidding it's not like I don't want to kill one of them myself sometimes.

This must be so much better as a TV show. I often wondered, "Why am I reading this? I am American; I know all this boring unflattering shit." Fry isn't...more
Richard Thompson
Subtitle: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See Them.

I enjoy Fry's writing, and his — admittedly superficial and rushed — tour of the United Stated was entertaining and occasionally enlightening. He pretty much skipped Ohio and Idaho completely because of scheduling pressures. (I think he should feel honour bound to come back and down a proper tour of those two states.) And he makes some odd (in my view) choices or what to visit and what to see in the short time that he is in each state.

I...more
Jenny
This is not a guide to America. It is what it says it is: Stephen Fry in America. Stephen travels through all 50 states, doing and eating many things on the way, and, all in all, making me feel a bit jealous. The book was made as an accompaniment to the TV series of the same name and, because the book was created secondary to the programme (which I haven't watched), it feels a little rushed and careless. Stephen often sounds tired and disillusioned - his task is a long one and his arm is broken...more
Sue
Perhaps it takes a Brit to convince an American to take another look at the abundance of good things that the USA has to see and experience. Well, maybe it helps if the American reading happens to think highly of Stephen Fry and also be an Anglophile. I gained a new appreciation for the sheer variety and wonder of our 50 states, and am thinking that the next big vacation should be to one or more of those marvelous states. I also really appreciated Fry's commentary on the people and places he enc...more
Victoria
Stephen Fry has a deep and abiding affection for America. In one of his many assignments for the BBC he visits the 50 states, some more briefly than others. He did find a few areas of the country that he held with disdain. One of these areas was the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Fry hilariously writes, "For taking the name of the priceless mausoleum of Agra, one of the beauties and wonders of the world, for that alone Donald Trump should be stripped naked and whipped with scorpio...more
Amanda Davies
While this was fun to read, I can only imagine it's more enjoyable when taken as a package with the TV show. I haven't seen that and I don't have any way to, so my opinion is based entirely on the book alone.

The book was interesting but not amazing. While it definitely gave a new insight on the US, especially from the perspective of a foreigner, Stephen Fry experienced such a variety of things that it's hard to say what perspective it could really give him on the US, except that it's a big count...more
Adria
This is the book version of the BBC series. Stephen Fry road trips to all 50 states in a London black cab (well, all except for Alaska and Hawai'i at which point, he sends the cab home). Good natured, intelligent (super intelligent), linquistically gifted, sharply witty, sometimes acerbic, Mr Fry is an Englishman with the highest regard for America and a complete disdain for anti-American snobbery in his own country. Fry calls out some of our over the top patriotism (and let's face it, we are a...more
Sri
Stephen Fry, sebagai seorang Briton, keliling Amerika dan menuliskan pengalamannya. Jadi inget buku I'm a Stranger Here Myself punyanya pak Bill Bryson. Bill Bryson sebagai orang Amerika menulis untuk orang Inggris. Udah agak lupa bukunya Bill Bryson. Tapi seingatku, Pak Bill lebih lucu walaupun terlalu banyak mengeluh. Pak Stephen juga bukannya selalu senang dengan apa yang dia temui tapi dia tidak mengeluh.Dia cukup bilang nggak suka. Mungkin karena Pak Stephen bukan orang Amerika yang menyoro...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.” 0 likes
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