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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and heartbreaking
This is a dazzlingly brilliant collection of articles written about some of the world's worst trouble spots. Nobody else writes like O'Rourke, managing to vividly conjure up the awfulness of the places he visits, yet at the same time managing to make you laugh as well. The tone of the articles ranges from the horrific 'Christmas in El Salvador', to the purely comic...
Published on June 9 2004 by L O'connor

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, depressing, formulaic and not even funny
I paid £1 for this in a sale. I was grossly overcharged. I read less than half of it before giving up.
O'Rourke can be amusing for a short time in the same way as a saloon bar loudmouth, but is equally tedious after any prolonged exposure. His formulaic writing style and ill-informed ranting are tiresome in the extreme. I can only assume that his popularity is down...
Published on Nov. 5 2000


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4.0 out of 5 stars P.J. is the man, Aug. 3 2000
By 
Brian D. Rubendall (Oakton, VA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" (Paperback)
"Holidays in Hell" was the first book to collect the travel writings of P.J. O'Rourke for Rolling Stone magazine. Though a bit dated taday (these stories were from the mid 1980s) it is still quite funny and full of classic P.J. He establishes his mantra here, basically that if you really want to know whats going on in a country you should never interview its politicians who will never tell you the straight story. In this book, P.J. travels to Poland, Lebanon, Panama and Heritage U.S.A. among other places. But the best essay is called "Through Darkest America: Epcot Center" that is an absolutely dead on drubbing of the so-called Magic Kingdom. Through it all O'Rourke reminds me of a more political and funnier Bill Bryson. This book is well worth a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars OUR MAN IN HAITI, March 26 2000
By 
Theodore Shadow (Langley, Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Holidays in Hell (Paperback)
I have always enjoyed O'Rourke's sense of the absurd, however, he has really connected with the reality - the unreality - of Haiti. Beneath the humor lies a great deal of truth, dealt with in a sympathetic manner. One interesting, bizarre element was his contact with a Canadian in the American intelligence service. He tells of meeting Lynn Garrison in Grand Quartier General, Haiti's military headquarters, where he was - of all things - serving as military spokesman, in addition to his duties as special advisor to General Raoul Cedras, the nation's commander in chief. Lynn Garrison was the key factor in delaying the return of Jean Bertrand Aristide for three years. Later factors would prove he was right as evidence now points to Aristide's control of Haiti's cocaine trade.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Being This Funny Should Be Against the Law, March 16 1999
This review is from: Holidays in Hell (Paperback)
No, this man is too much. I have never read anyone funnier or smarter. From his exalted brilliance in Parliament of Whores to his latest Eat the Rich, P.J. O'Rourke manages to make me laugh out loud on nearly every page. My husband is trying to sleep and I'm pulling his arm saying, just one more, let me read you just one more thing, and then we laugh till we cry. I don't know. P.J. should not be allowed to be this funny. His former editor in Rolling Stone told me that in real life he is every bit as mirthful. I will say that the cynicism has just got to end at EPCOT. I draw the line at Disney World. Everything else is up for grabs, Beirut, Warsaw, go ahead, yuck it up. But leave WDW alone; have you not been on the Maelstrom Ride?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, depressing, formulaic and not even funny, Nov. 5 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" (Paperback)
I paid £1 for this in a sale. I was grossly overcharged. I read less than half of it before giving up.
O'Rourke can be amusing for a short time in the same way as a saloon bar loudmouth, but is equally tedious after any prolonged exposure. His formulaic writing style and ill-informed ranting are tiresome in the extreme. I can only assume that his popularity is down to a significant number of people who have similarly small minds and like to read someone who shares their prejudices and never challenges them.
Judging from this book, I'd be surprised if Mr O'Rourke ever gains any pleasure from travel. I would guess that he only does it to give himself something to write about - it's his job, after all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to know about Lebanon....., Oct. 17 2001
By 
Lon Crabtree (Walton, KY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" (Paperback)
"If you want to know about Lebanon and the Lebanonese people, read P.J. O'Rourke." This is what my friend from Beirut told me when I kept asking him questions about the culture and politcis of his homeland. Walid thought so much of the book he brought it to me and insisted I read it. PJ calls it like he sees it. He is not P.C. by a long shot, but neither was Walid (an ex-sniper during their brutal civil war) and neither am I.
The people who are offended by this book are the same people who censer themselves and generaly are just boring and no damn fun at all.
Funny stuff, PJ at his brutal best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paraguay, the Albania of South America, Jan. 29 2002
This review is from: Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" (Paperback)
This is one of the nicest quotes from the best of these ascerbic travel essays by old P.J. Paraguay, he reports, is uncomfortably well-populated by seventy-somethings with thick German accents whose sons run businesses such as "Steiner's Karate Studio." Another great spot was Beirut, which P.J. visited prior to its renaissance. Remarking on the unpleasant habit of harbor fisherman who used explosives rather than nets, he observes that "dynamite is one bait fish always rise to." Or his trip to the Phillippines, wherein lie some of the world's greatest wrestling fans. Hell indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the culturally squeamish., Aug. 9 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Holidays in Hell (Paperback)
One of the most tasteless, yet insightful examinations of
modern institutions written in the last couple of decades.
O'Rourke, while making no pretension of objectivity or
balance, skewers the Sandinistas, Harvard, Heritage USA,
and many others. Don't worry about not liking O'Rourke's
politics; the ludicrous imagery will have you laughing
despite your conscience. To give you an idea of how
irrestible this book is, I have given copies to a Jimmy Carter
appointee and to an unrepentent feminisist. Both laughed
uncontrollably. The JC apointee thanked me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, July 10 2000
By 
R. Smith (Baltimore, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" (Paperback)
Classic PJ. I constantly laughed out loud while first reading it years ago and it still cracks me up. He skewers idiocy without regard in AK47-like bursts of descriptive prose. What? Oh, and it's a negative 100 on the political correctness weenie scale. Read it now. It will be one of the first books banned when the libs finally dump the Constitution. Where are you PJ? Put together another book soon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, Jan. 30 2002
This review is from: Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" (Paperback)
This guy knows how to travel! Hitting such tourist hot spots as Lebanon, the Eastern Bloc, and South Korea on election day, PJ O'Rourke has a true gift for humor. He descriptions of his travels are both funny and qusi-informational.
This book is a must for anyone who appreciates well written humor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars First rate writing!, May 27 2000
By 
Chad Bagley "Chad" (Shanghai China/Provo, UT) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Holidays in Hell (Paperback)
I'll preface my review by saying that I really don't dig P.J.'s politics. This cat's just a little too conservative for my taste and at times can be a bit condescending towards his subject matter.
But...he's conservative and condescending in a damn funny way- so I forgive him.
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