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am 15. August 2005
... would be the perfect word to describe Neither Here Nor There. After having read A Short History of Nearly Everything, I had high expectations and was very disappointed. I think everybody has their right to share their own opinion about anything, but does a more or less famous author have to be so shortsighted and full of clichees just for the sake of a cheap joke? (though I must admit, sometimes I could not keep from laughing either...) Or does he really believe in all the clichees he writes about? Some of the many things I couldn't quite follow: How could you cry about a $2 entrance fee for a museum and pay some $100 for a hotel room without any further comment? How can one be proud of not knowing anything at all about a country's language or culture (except that one has - seemingly single-handedly - saved it in WWII)? As far as he describes how badly he had been treated as a tourist - In my opinion, he had been treated just as he had deserved to be treated.
I have been to many countries mentioned in the book and almost always had a better time. Summary: If you want a cheap laugh - and not much else - recommendable. If not, not.
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am 20. Juni 2005
After reading "Notes from a Big Country",(probably one of the funniest books I've ever read - a must-read for any European who has travelled the US!), I was ecstatic, ready to get my hands on anything Bryson has ever written.
But what a letdown this one was!
It started out okay, I had a few laughs in the beginning, but in the course of his journey, he seems to be getting tired, and, boy,does it show! Just a long list of checking in and out of hotels in different European cities, eating at mediocre restaurants with unfriendly waiters, you hardly learn anything about the places he went to, or the people (well, neither did he apparently...)
Every now and then he leaves the plot to tell some anecdote, that's when his usual humour shows up again, but just for that, you don't have to read the whole book.
And what's that personal revenge thing, he's got going with the Germans and Austrians, and the dark episode in our history!? Yes, it was terrible, and shall never be forgotten, but cool it, man!!
Well, he lives in England, that might explain some of it;-)
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am 18. September 2000
Unfortunately this book is not funny. It is not even entertaining. And it is not a travel book at all. It is a contribution to intolerance and prejudice.
I wonder how can be one so superficial, narrow-minded and intolerant! Bill Bryson should think about the difference between a traveller and a tourist. Why do people travel? Probably because they want to experience new cultures and the best way to do it is doing it in an open-minded and sensitive way.
But BB did not. He seemed to hunt for negative things only in the most prejudicing way. And he was on a hunt through Europe! Travelling is about SPENDING TIME instead of rushing from one place to another. Travelling is also about TALKING TO PEOPLE instead of reading books in restaurants and other places.
I hope that Americans visiting Europe are not biased by this intolerant point of view and hopefully enjoy the diversity of Europe.
I also hope that BB stays at home in the future instead of throwing 'Travel books' on the market (isn't there a recent one about Australia - well-timed to the Olympics?)
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VINE-PRODUKTTESTERam 26. Januar 2008
I read "A walk in the woods" before and really enjoyed Bryson's book on travels along a hike in the USA. I liked his humor and his insights so I was quite looking forward to this one, about his travels in Europe, in which he tries to recapture his experiences as a young man and compare them to way he sees Europe now. There are too many stereotypes and clichés in this bool to make it really enjoyable. Travelling should broaden the horizion but this trip clearly doesn't. Bryson goes for the cheap shots and below the belt this one, and at times I felt the book was quite annoying. What on earth compelled him to write sentences like the one where he expected ruddy-faced German to sing the Horst-Wessel-Song in a German bar? This is just one the few examples where he obviously goes overboard in order to get cheap laugh---or the manic busdriver in former Yugoslavia, and so on and so on.
I think Bryson is an excellent writer when he puts his mind to it, but maybe he was under pressure to fulfil some obligations to the book-publishing company to bring in a book before a deadline. That is the best excuse I can make up for him. Try "A walk in the woods", it is so much better.
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am 17. Februar 2000
When a prejudiced guy goes abroad to nourish his prejudices, it begets a book full of clichés. Sure, BB is subtle enough not to let us in on his preconceived judgements, but he definitely carries a bagful of them. The book even lost its (claimed) humor on me because, as an European, I've been familiar with all those commonplaces in ages. "Neither Here Nor There" is so shallow that it has almost nothing to do with what Europe is about. Indeed, BB should stick to his English teaching knack.
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am 14. Mai 2000
I didn't like it. It is the first book of Bill Bryson's I have read, and probably won't read another one. I have also traveled extensively in Europe, and similiar to Bryson, never planned my hotels, etc. But while I always have a good time, he just seems to dislike everything. It depressed me to picture him traveling through Europe, being that negative. Skip this book, and read an intelligent and interesting travel book, like something by David Hatcher Childress.
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am 13. Januar 2000
This book is an average book: enjoyable at times, slow and boring at others. While Bryson maintains his sarcastic style used in Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island and the Lost Continent (all better choices as intros to Bill's brain), he fails to bring out what always saved his sarcastic rants: his fondness for the people or country.
In the 3 books I listed, Bryson deliciously skewers the US and UK and their people, but there's always a loving undercurrent underneath (kind of like teasing the sibling which you love to death). In case you miss the point, he would end the book by saying how much he loved the respective countries.
In this book, no such love is found. He just rants and raves about different European peoples and cities. Further lowering the enjoyability of this book are the few remarks that could be considered racist or xenophobic. As to these remarks, they don't get a lot of airplay and only sensitive people (or members of the groups) will object to them, but they're there nonetheless.
All in all, I'd recommend this book only for those who have read the other Bryson travel books and need to read everything he has written. Otherwise, read the 3 books listed above and his essay compilation "I'm a Stranger Here Myself."
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am 4. Mai 2000
As a fan of the other Bill Bryson books, I was disappointed by this one. It really appeared to me that Bryson took this trip because he wanted to relive the wonder of his first youthful European trak without really realizing how much he had changed. He still offers funny anecdotes but he clearly did not connect with many Europeans and his sarcasm was not tempered with much genuine enjoyment of his experience. I would have been just as happy for him to have spent his summer in England with his family and simply used his extraordinary ability to tell stories about his daily life!
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am 5. Juni 2007
Unfortunately the book is such a collection of old stereotypes, which makes me wonder whether Bill actually visited the countries he describes.

I do believe that it is time that Mr. Bryson revisited his subject "Neither Here Nor There:: Travels in Europe".

Many things have changed in Europe. This is being shown by the increasingly bad ratings his book is receiving now.
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am 24. November 2014
I have all books of Bill Bryson and just love his humor and style. Having been forewarned of his hostility against Germans in general I had hesitated until now to buy this last book but then decided: What the heck... How bad can it be?
Now I know and it's really bad, enormously offensive and full of the dumbest clichés you can think of. Spare me the details. At one point he informs us, that he' ll never be able to forgive the Germans.... I couldn't help having a fleeting thought of the genocide of the Indians as well as more than 200 years of slavery and ongoing racism of this proud, freedom- loving nation. But when I meet an US- American I see the person, not the countries partially ugly history. When Bryson meets a German he only sees a Nazi. That hurts! He is even surprised at some point NOT to find every German arrogant. Wow, what more can one ask for in a compliment. So I really find it difficult to enjoy this book, which also contains quite a lot of stupid (but never as insulting) cliches regarding other countries and certainly is no recommendation for the author himself. And now please excuse me: I have to practice the "Horst- Wessel- Lied" a bit.
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