American Journeys

American Journeys Review

Australia's bestselling author returns with a superb book about his journeys around America - this is travel writing at its very best.

Only in America - the most powerful democracy on earth, home to the best and worst of everything - are the most extreme contradictions possible. In a series of journeys acclaimed author Don Watson set out to explore the nation that has influenced him more than any other.

Travelling by rail gave Watson a unique and seductive means of peering into the United States, a way to experience life with its citizens: long days with the American landscape and American towns and American history unfolding on the outside, while inside a tiny particle of the American people talked among themselves.

Watson's experiences are profoundly affecting: he witnesses the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast; explores the savage history of the Deep South, the heartland of the Civil War; and journeys to the remarkable wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. Yet it is through the people he meets that Watson discovers the incomparable genius of America, its optimism, sophistication and riches - and also its darker side, its disavowal of failure and uncertainty.

Beautifully written, with gentle power and sly humour, AMERICAN JOURNEYS investigates the meaning of the United States: its confidence, its religion, its heroes, its violence, and its material obsessions. The things that make America great are also its greatest flaws.

Title:American Journeys

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Mitchell

    America holds a fascinating sway for Australians - for foreigners in general, certainly, but more so for an English-speaking nation with little history and a feeble culture. I grew up watching the Sim...

  • Helen King

    An expansive look at the United States of America, through the eyes of Don Watson who has such a way with words, and real insight into the places he is exploring. Although written before Barack Obama ...

  • Stephanie

    Don Watson portrays the US as a mostly homogenous, gun-toting, right wing truck stop/fast food laden wasteland. But at the same time, he seems enthralled by his visions of the backwaters and dwindling...

  • Jim Rimmer

    I've had a signed copy sitting on my crowded bookshelf for ages, waiting for the right time to read it. Initially released in the lead up to the historic 2008 US election I could think of no better mo...

  • Marshallw

    Would never travel on Amtrak....

  • Jonathan Bradley

    Look, I enjoyed Watson's observations, but they're weakened by his unspoken presumption that being a white Australian man in his fifties makes him a neutral observer of his subject, rather than a subj...

  • SP

    I love reading books about people travelling through the USA, because the USA is such a vast land and home to a lot of diversity. Don Watson's American Journeys is an OK read, but falls into the trap ...

  • Skyring

    This book opens as fireworks explode and a band plays in an American city. Don Watson is there, making some comments about America with an Australian's eye for the details that might escape the native...

  • Stephen O'Sullivan

    This book is part reflection, part travelogue, part history, and charts the writer's varied and at times conflicting attitudes to the United States of America. Watson writes beautifully, and I found m...

  • Andrew

    Reading travel narratives is often a powerful way to experience an unfamiliar place or to learn about people and cultures in remote areas. But they can also be vehicles for self-reflection, allowing u...