Holidays in Heck

P.J. O'Rourke. Atlantic Monthly, $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1985-8
In this cheeky follow-up to Holidays in Hell, former war correspondent O'Rourke trades battle zones for more appealing travel destinations, often with his family in tow. Deciding after the Iraq War that he was "too old to be scared stiff and too stiff to sleep on the ground," O'Rourke switches to travel writing after 21 years covering various conflicts. The exotic—a sailing trip to the Galápagos Islands in "Republicans Evolving" or a horse trek through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan in "A Horse of a Different Color"—rub shoulders with the more mundane—a family skiing vacation in "Round on the Ends and ‘Hi!' in the Middle," a trip to Disneyland in "The Decline and Fall of Tomorrow"—and all of them share O'Rourke's razor wit. The family skiing vacation is made more hilarious by its being in Ohio (his eldest daughter doesn't like long hills), and the plethora of wildlife observed during the Galápagos jaunt become stand-ins for our country's political parties. The majority of essays were assigned by Forbes Life and reworked by O'Rourke for this collection; "Capitol Gains," the O'Rourke family's aborted tour of the Washington, D.C., sights is previously unpublished. O'Rourke loses none of his sly humor, finding many opportunities to lampoon American politics under his new guise as a traveling family man. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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