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Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, 'What's Funny About This'

Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, 'What's Funny About This'

Written by P. J. O'Rourke

Narrated by Dan John Miller


Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, 'What's Funny About This'

Written by P. J. O'Rourke

Narrated by Dan John Miller

ratings:
4.5/5 (10 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Nov 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781455841998
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Holidays in Hell follows P. J. O'Rourke on a global fun-finding mission to the most desperate places on the planet, from the bombed-out streets of Beirut to the stultifying blandness of Heritage USA. P.J.'s unforgettable adventures abroad include storming student protesters' barricades in South Korea, interviewing Communist insurrectionists in the Philippines, and going undercover in Arab garb at Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock Mosque.

Packed with P.J.'s classic riffs on everything from Polish nightlife under communism to Third World driving tips, Holidays in Hell is one of the best-loved books by one of today's most celebrated humorists - a full-tilt, no-holds-barred romp through politics, culture, and ideology.

"This is funny, outrageous, perceptive stuff, written with brio." -The Washington Post Book World

"O'Rourke. . . seems to have teethed on brass knuckles and suckled on bile. He is also one of the funniest writers in America, or wherever else he may go to satisfy his desperate need to extract humor from folly and chaos." -Time

"To say that P. J. O'Rourke is funny is like saying that the Rocky Mountains are scenic - accurate but insufficient. At best he's downright exhilarating." - Chicago Tribune

Released:
Nov 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781455841998
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

P. J. O'Rourke is the bestselling author of thirteen books, including Eat the Rich, Give War a Chance, and The CEO of the Sofa. He is a regular correspondent for the Atlantic magazine. Peace Kills and Thomas Paine's On the Wealth of Nations: A Biography were published by Atlantic Books in 2004 and 2007.


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What people think about Holidays in Hell

4.4
10 ratings / 8 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    P.J. O'Rourke can be a very funny writer and this is on show in "Holidays in hell", a collection of his writing as a foreign affairs journalist. The most memorable entry is his trip to the Philippines to cover the election result that eventually led to the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos and the rise of Corazon Aquino. Trips to Communist nations and Israel also feature, as do some good one liners.
  • (4/5)
    My reactions on reading this book in 1991.Beyond the cynical, black, sometimes hyperbolic humor of this book, O'Rourke gives some telling insight into various hellholes on the planet. (Most are Third World ones, but there is also the strange land of the Euro-Weenies and Dark Places of America: Heritage U.S.A. and EPCOT Center.) P.J. tries to avoid cliches, see both sides, and cite the telling detail whether it's the befuddled Afrikaaners, the El Salvadorians who can't be satisfied given their position, the anarchic Beirutians, and the brain-dead, smug Europeans. O'Rourke's position seems closest to libertarian. He despises liberals and cites many examples of their lies and stupidities. But he also takes a few swipes at Republicans. Indeed, he seems unsure if America can help the rest of the world. O'Rourke is firmly anti-communist. His piece on Poland is a set-piece of his philosophy. Here O'Rourke ignores direct talk on totalitarian Communism and its effect on freedom and wealth. For him it's crucial that life under the system is boring, squallid, and no fun. He really is, as he quips, interested in the difference between wrong and fun. O'Rourke is convinced America is the best place on Earth but in political, physical, and social danger from within and without. O'Rourke is proof that truth about the world can be communicated with engaging humor. O'Rourke may do more for the political education of the American populace that many "serious" writers.
  • (5/5)
    PJ O'Rourke's Holidays in Hell is PJ at his peak -- totally irreverent, totally indifferent to political correctness and propriety, frequently hilarious. The travel essays in this volume take him to several central American countries, Poland, the Philippines, and even to Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's Heritage USA compound. Great fun.
  • (3/5)
    This is a collection of articles written for various magazines about travelling to unusual places - war zones, evangelical Christian holiday camps, that sort of thing. Funny, but best read one article at a time with a break in between, otherwise the humour kinda grates.
  • (4/5)
    Hilarious. Although opinionated and boorish, I find his writing equally critical of U.S. social craziness as of the foreign cultures he satirizes. In particular his chapters on the Heritage USA Christian theme park and another on the Epcot Center ("Darkest America") stand out as social commentary in the same vein as Mark Twain or Ring Lardner.
  • (5/5)
    I have lost _both_ of my copies of this book. I wish I still had it so I could compare his observaitons to the state of the world now. (Fortunately, the Atlantic Monthly magazine pulishes O'Rourke from time to time, so I don't have to go too long between fixes.)
  • (4/5)
    The author wrote about his travels, and published as the "International Affairs Desk Chief" at Rolling Stone. This is a travel book. The author chose to visit and write about trouble-spots around the globe. He did sight-seeing in war-torn Lebanon, was pepper-gassed in Korea, checked out night-life in Poland, and did a Christmas in El Salvador. He described a Philippine army officer as "powerful-looking in a short, compressed way, like an attack hamster". He takes on serious issues, with merciless parody: "Due to this actuarial wrestling match between mortality and screwing like bunnies, average age in the Third World will drop precipitously. By 2013 many Third World business and political leaders will be under the age of five. Thus government and economic matters will be conducted at approximately the same level of maturity and sophistication as they are now." [254]He's pretending to just be out to have a good time, but usually at the expense of others, and usually others of an oppressive persuasion.
  • (5/5)
    Risking life and limb in such Hellish zones as 1980s Lebanon, El Salvador, and Harvard University, O’Rourke looks “for a good time” amidst the chaos according the rear cover description… just above the Nixon quote…trippy… While reading this, I assumed he was a journalist that had attempted the objective route during the sundry riots, protests, and Vietnams dotting the sixties and finally said “F**k it! This is all bullsh*t that perpetually repeats itself!” and moved on to a, if you will, more subjective approach to covering contentious situations. Apparently he’s always been a satirist/smart ass and this is certainly well-conveyed with these hilarious essays. Beyond apparently consuming massive quantities of booze, O’Rourke’s “holidays” aren’t about vacationy stuff like awkwardly para-sailing in Beirut during the latest bombing campaign. He’s there like “real” journalists, under fire, seeking out key interviews, and doing whatever else real journalists do in troubled zones (apparently consume massive quantities of booze). The difference is O’Rourke takes it all with a grain of salt and a long ton of cynicism. Compiled throughout the eighties, this is obviously dated in a same-damn-thing manner. Problems in and around the Holy Land? Mexican border issues? Slimy evangelists? I’m so glad we’re in a more advanced millennium. South Africa gets a big soccer tournament in our brave new world, though I hear Epcot is still charging admission for awe-inspiring exposure to the prowess that is General Motors. Can’t win them all. Don’t sell that