Holidays in Heck
By P. J. O'Rourke
(Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802119858, 265pp.)
Publication Date: November 2011
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P.J. O'Rourke is one of today's most celebrated political humorists, and has been hailed as "the funniest writer in America" by both Time and The Wall Street Journal. Two decades ago he published the classic travelogue Holidays in Hell, in which he traversed the globe on a fun-finding mission to what were then some of the most desperate places on the planet, including Warsaw, Managua, and Belfast.
In Holidays in Heck, P.J. embarks on supposedly more comfortable and allegedly less dangerous travels--often with family in tow--which mostly leave him wishing he were under artillery fire again. The essays take O'Rourke on a whirlwind of adventures, beginning at the National Mall in Washington, which he describes as having been designed with the same amazing "greatest generation" aesthetic sensibility that informed his parents' living room. We follow him as he takes his family on a ski vacation (to the Aspen of the Midwest--Ohio--where the highest point of elevation is the six-food ski instructor that his wife thinks is cute). And later he experiences a harrowing horseback ride across the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
The result is a hilarious and often moving portrait of life in the fast lane--only this time as a husband and father.
When he retired from his job as a war correspondent, P.J. O'Rourke decided to take on a new kind of globe-trotting challenge: traveling for fun. In Holidays in Heck, he explains how touring the Galapagos Islands and horseback riding in Kyrgyzstan left him questioning the merits of recreational travel. More at NPR.org
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