The good thing about Bryson's books is that they are well-written and genuinely funny in parts, but they are also insightful, wide-ranging and fact-checked. If people read his books (and lots do) then they are better informed and tilted towards the good side of a well-run caring society. The down-side is that some really frightening changes in the state of the world are dug up, exposed to light, scare the bejaysus out of the reader; but then the narrative zooms off to the next chapter with an acerbic comment and we're back to hilarious take-downs random pompous or inefficient people in tourism or service.
- Sellafield has discharged more unaccounted nuclear waste than all the rest of the EU and contains the two most glowy buildings in Europe.
- In 1950 Grimbsy landed 100,000 tonnes of cod. In 2015, 300 tonnes. That's a consequence of rapacious, unregulated destruction of underwater habitat in pursuit of fish-fingers. If only every fish caught had been used to feed people. In fact, thousands of tonnes of 'by-catch' just fed gannets and bacteria.
But, if you like that sort of thing you could, with advantage, check out of the library:
- Peter Fleming (brother of Ian "Bond" Fleming): Brazilian Adventure (1933) or One's Company (1934)
- Eric Newby: A Short Walk in the Hindi Kush (1958) or The Last Grain Race (1956)
- Ivan Sanderson: Animal Treasure (1937)
- Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Time of Gifts (1977) or Between the Woods and the Water (1986)