Book Review: In A Sunburned Country by Bill Brysoon

**** Recommend it
Highly recommend if you are a Bill Bryson fan.
Highly recommend if you are considering a trip to Australia.
Recommend if you are interested in Australia.

I have read a number of Bryson books over the years. My wife and I started many years ago by jointly reading “A Walk in the Woods.” It was the book we were consuming before going to sleep for the night. That communal experience of smiling and laughing out loud to the observations of Mr. Bryson as he stumbled down the Appalachian Trail made us fans for life. This book, “In a Sunburned Country,” , about his experiences as he stumbled through Australia, just adds to my fondness of him.

He seems to have found a real niche for himself. He is genuinely interested in the world around him; things big and small. He picks something that he doesn’t know anything about, travels to the key places in the world where that the thing exists, and writes about his experiences doing it. His writing is a pleasure, beautiful really, and funny and he is able to condense large ideas into small bite-sized chunks that are easy to understand. And with Australia, that topic aligns with his talents nicely. 

What I learned
  • The Australian native animal population is exponentially more likely to kill you than anywhere else in the world.
  • It is so large and hostile, that most of the country is unexplored.
  • The people are lovely. 
  • Even in this modern day, with comfortable airline travel, most non-Australians consider traveling there to be too remote. 
  • Even the locals don’t travel to the outskirts. They are too far and too hostile. 
  • Australia has a dark history like most countries and Bryson doesn’t shy away from any of it. 

In the end, Bryson loves the country and especially the people, and more especially, the remote people. I listened to the book as Bryson narrated it and that adds its own charm. This is his last paragraph: 

“Australia is mostly empty and a long way away. Its population is small and its role in the world consequently peripheral. It doesn’t have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn’t need watching, and so we don’t. But I will tell you this: the loss is entirely ours. You see, Australia is an interesting place. It truly is. And that really is all I’m saying.”

Bill Bryson Books I have Read

“A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail”
“A Short History of Nearly Everything”
“At Home: A Short History of Private Life”
“Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
“In a Sunburned Country”


“In a Sunburned Country,” by Bill Bryson, Published by Broadway Books 18 June 2000, Last Visited 30 April 2020,

“How to Speak Australian” By ANNETTE KOBAK, NYTs, 20 August 2000, Last Visited 30 April 2020,

“AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: ‘In a Sunburned Country’ by Bill Bryson” By Susan Rife , Herald-Tribune/ Friday, 3 April 2015, Last Visited 30 April 2020, 

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Terebrate authored by Rick. Read the original post at: