cover image Holidays in Heck

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%E2%80%94a sailing trip to the Gal%C3%A1pagos Islands in "Republicans Evolving" or a horse trek through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan in "A Horse of a Different Color"%E2%80%94rub shoulders with the more mundane%E2%80%94a family skiing vacation in "Round on the Ends and %E2%80%98Hi!' in the Middle," a trip to Disneyland in "The Decline and Fall of Tomorrow"%E2%80%94and 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 Gal%C3%A1pagos 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for this collection; "Capitol Gains," the O'Rourke family's aborted tour of the Washington, D.C., sights is previously unpublished.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.)