Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About Thiby P. J. O'Rourke
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Now available from Grove Press, P. J. O'Rourke's classic, best-selling guided tour of the world's most desolate, dangerous, and desperate places. "Tired of making bad jokes" and believing that "the world outside seemed a much worse joke than anything I could conjure," P. J. O'Rourke traversed the globe on a fun-finding mission, investigating the way of life in the most desperate places on the planet, including Warsaw, Managua, and Belfast. The result is Holidays in Hell--a full-tilt, no-holds-barred romp through politics, culture, and ideology. P.J.'s adventures include storming student protesters' barricades with riot police in South Korea, interviewing Communist insurrectionists in the Philippines, and going undercover dressed in Arab garb in the Gaza Strip. He also takes a look at America's homegrown horrors as he braves the media frenzy surrounding the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Washington D.C., uncovers the mortifying banality behind the white-bread kitsch of Jerry Falwell's Heritage USA, and survives the stultifying boredom of Harvard's 350th anniversary celebration. Packed with P.J.'s classic riffs on everything from Polish nightlife under communism to Third World driving tips, Holidays in Hell is one of the best-loved books by one of today's most celebrated humorists.
Read an Excerpt
Holidays in Hell
By P. J. O'Rourke
Grove Atlantic, Inc.Copyright © 1988 P. J. O'Rourke
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOn Commie Concrete:
"From bumpy landing until bumpy takeoff, you spend your time in Poland looking at bad concrete. Everything is made of it-streets, buildings, floors, walls, ceilings, roofs, window frames, lampposts, statues, benches, plus some of the food, I think. Commies love concrete, but they don't know how to make it. Concrete is a mixture of cement, gravel and straw? No? Gravel, water and wood pulp? Water, potatoes and lard?"
On Sight-Seeing in Lebanon:
Important archaeological work has been done in Lebanon, exposing six millennia of human misbehavior. The country has been overrun in turn by Canaanites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Arabs again, Turks, French, more Arabs, Israelis and occasional U.S. Marines. Perhaps by means of the past one can begin to comprehend the present. Or learn which way to run from the future.
On the America's Cup:
Rich people are nuts for boats. The first thing that a yo-yo like Simon LeBon or Ted Turner does when he gets rich is buy a boat. And, if he's a high-hat kind of rich-that is, if he made his money screwing thousands of people in arbitrage instead of hundreds selling used cars-he buys a sailboat. I don't know about you, but if I got richI'd buy something warm and weatherproof that held still, like a bar.
Excerpted from Holidays in Hell by P. J. O'Rourke Copyright © 1988 by P. J. O'Rourke. Excerpted by permission.
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