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About the book
  • Published: 2 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143790990
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $38.00

American Journeys




A superb book about Don Watson's journeys around America. Featured as one of Newsweek’s 50 ‘What to Read Now and Why’ titles.

A superb book about Don Watson's journeys around America. Featured as one of Newsweek’s 50 ‘What to Read Now and Why’ titles.

Only in America - the most powerful democracy on earth, home to the best and worst of everything - are the most extreme contradictions possible. In a series of journeys acclaimed author Don Watson set out to explore the nation that has influenced him more than any other.

Travelling by rail gave Watson a unique and seductive means of peering into the United States, a way to experience life with its citizens: long days with the American landscape and American towns and American history unfolding on the outside, while inside a tiny particle of the American people talked among themselves.

Watson's experiences are profoundly affecting: he witnesses the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast; explores the savage history of the Deep South, the heartland of the Civil War; and journeys to the remarkable wilderness of Yellowstone National Park.

Yet it is through the people he meets that Watson discovers the incomparable genius of America, its optimism, sophistication and riches - and also its darker side, its disavowal of failure and uncertainty.

Beautifully written, with gentle power and sly humour, American Journeys investigates the meaning of the United States: its confidence, its religion, its heroes, its violence, and its material obsessions. The things that make America great are also its greatest flaws.

  • Pub date: 2 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143790990
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $38.00

About the Author

Don Watson

Don Watson's books, articles and essays have been widely acclaimed. His bestselling titles include Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister, which won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year, Death Sentence, which won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year, Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words, and American Journeys, which won The Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Book of the Year, the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Non-Fiction Award. In 2010 Don was awarded the Phillip Hodgins Memorial Medal for Australian Literature. Since 2003 his website weaselwords.com.au has been documenting the viral spread of management-speak and the decline of public language. His critically acclaimed 2014 book The Bush recently won the Indie Book of the Year and the NSW Premier's Literary Award.

Also by Don Watson

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Awards & Recognition

  • The Age Book of the Year Award

    Winner • 2008 • The Age Book of the Year Award

  • The Indie Awards

    Winner • 2008 • The Indie Awards (Non-Fiction)

  • Walkley Book Award

    Winner • 2008 • Walkley Book Award (Non Fiction)

  • Queensland Literary Awards

    Shortlisted • 2008 • Queensland Literary Awards (Non Fiction)

  • WA Premier's Literary Awards

    Shortlisted • 2008 • WA Premier's Literary Award (Non Fiction)

  • Prime Minister's Literary Awards

    Shortlisted • 2009 • Prime Minister's Literary Awards (Non Fiction)


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