Holidays in Hell by P.J. O'Rourke

Holidays in Hell

O'Rourke travels to hellholes around the globe--from war-torn Lebanon to Korea to Poland to El Salvador--looking for trouble, the truth, and good times. "A spin with P.J. O'Rourke is like a ride in the back of an old pickup over unpaved roads. You get where you're going fast, with exhilarating views--but not without a few bruises".--"The New York Times Book Review".

Details Holidays in Hell

TitleHolidays in Hell
Release DateJun 1st, 2000
PublisherGrove Press
GenreTravel, Nonfiction, Humor, Politics, Writing, Journalism

Reviews Holidays in Hell

  • HFK
    Trouble doesn’t come from Slopes, Kikes, Niggers, Spies or White Capitalist Pigs; it comes from the heart. O'Rourke is a dude you wanna travel through third world with while cozily laying on your first world sofa with a blueberry pie in your hand. You will be completely free of any possible white guilt, you will not be filled with ideals and humanitarian solutions, but simply get an humorous tour from war-torn Lebanon to communist Poland, and e...
  • Jonathan
    Back in the mid to late '80s when PJ O'Rourke wrote the pieces that make up Holidays in Hell, the world was a much different place: there was war in the Middle East, the threat of nuclear conflict, sectarian violence...alright, so things haven't changed all that much. Which is one reason why, after twenty years, this collection of reportage pieces from Lebanon, Nicaragua, Palestine, Northern Ireland and other conflict hot spots remains worth read...
  • Daren
    The 80's had some ideal hotspots for a rogue journalist like PJ O'Rourke. Somehow he managed to convince the editors of magazines he worked for that they required stories from these largely untravelled (at the time - not necessarily before or after), largely dangerous places where he was able to ignore sensible advice, and live to write about it.He visits many - El-Salvador, Ireland, Israel, South Korea, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Panama, The Philippine...
  • Brian
    I'm not sure why I didn't like this book more. It was vividly and humorously written, educational and even important. I think it was just the page after page of diverse suffering and injustice, presented by an author whose considered opinion appears to be that there is no hope for the Third World and so we might as well laugh at it. (Tangentially, I suggest that easily offended readers skip the prologue, which contains a large number of barely-jo...
  • David
    Contains one of the best paragraphs in all the English language... starting with ...."I snapped...."
  • Tom
    My good friend Amy is an honors student in journalism. She’s about to start her Senior Year as editor-in-chief of her college newspaper. Anyway, something she mentioned in a recent blog post was that she’d left for college, certain that her dream was to blast through her four years, then become a foreign correspondent, traveling the world and filing stories from exotic trouble-spots. My mind flashed back on P.J. O’Rourke’s “Holidays in ...
  • thelastword
    Given that the writer had such a short period of time in the places he visited, he seemed to grasp the core of things pretty well. Pity that this accuracy is wasted on him as all he uses it for is to pass mean judgement on all, whether good or bad (apart from when it came to the occupied lands. As far as I'm concerned, he tried too hard to make both sides seem responsible, when we all clearly know the truth). He also draws similes and makes refer...
  • Alex
    My introduction to P.J. O'Rourke.I will always love this book. It made me laugh like no other book had managed and it planted the first seeds of anti-Socialism in my mind. It also made me realise that being un-PC is the way to go. It's okay to laugh at other countries and cultures if they're absolutely mad. Thanks P.J.
  • Charlotte
    Despicable politics but a great sense of humour.
  • Se84
    The guy's a jackass, but he can write.
  • Laura
    've had this book around for a while and have read it in bits and pieces, as it is written in a format that easily allows for that. It's been my bath book, my waiting in lines book, my doctor's office book. I've enjoyed it emmensely. I was a subscriber to Rolling Stone magazine for quite some time and always enjoyed reading O'Rourke's articles, so I had no doubt that I would appriciate a collection of them. (I was correct in that assumption.) I'v...
  • One Flew
    This is the only travel book i've ever liked. What I love about PJ is the fact that he has absolutely no illusions about the way the world works. Most left wingers tend to believe that all of the worlds problems can be solved and that the rich are to blame for it all. If you're looking for a genuine, insightful and funny book about how messed up the world is, then this is the book for you. PJ is completely remorseless about his views and doesn't ...
  • Sergio GRANDE
    Disappointing. This is not a book that has stood the test of time; it was probably funnier while it was topical. What's the point of reading about a South Africa on the brink of democracy, or about a war-torn Beirut when the author does not offer a lasting impression of the countries but rather an account of his own experience at that precise moment in history? Change the circumstances and the accounts become inconsequential. As both did.The bigg...
  • Earle
    If O'Rourke's quirky brand of humor resonates with you, this is as good as it gets. I've read most of his works, and this is my favorite.O'Rourke was a foreign correspondent for 'Rolling Stone', and was sent to every god-forsaken hellhole in the world. It is from his experiences in these venues that the chapters are drawn.The chapter on Lebanon begins ...... "Beirut, at a glance, lacks charm." If that doesn't strike you as pure writing genius, th...
  • Anna
    Innocents Abroad Updated ....In the best tradition of Mark Twain's perceptive observations and caustic humor, O'Rourke has a poke for everyone. In addition to the places mentioned in the book description, stories featuring the America's Cup in Perth Australia and Disneyland are added to "Hell-ish"locales.Since this is a collection of articles written in the mid-1980's, the epilogue was especially interesting in which O'Rourke describes places and...
  • Sarah
    It was ok. A bit dated (set in 1980's, some interesting points/factsAlso author was really quite racist.I wouldn't recommend this. I picked it up in a charity shop and should have saved my £1.50 to be honest.I didn't bother finishing it (I got to the last 3 chapters, so gave it a good go)How has this racist man got so many good reviews?I was repeatedly shocked by his racist, ill informed and arrogant (American (white)-centric)comments.
  • Benito
    Good shit, though perhaps some of it's a little dated now, having been written in the late 80s. The entry on Fremantle, WA as a part of 'Hell' is particularly interesting for us southern colonial folk I think. Good to see Australia has a town as awful as any in Israel, Northern Island, or Lebanon, though I had a great time in Fremantle myself, and would have chosen Adelaide or Brisbane as far more hellish, but hey, who's the famous right-wing gon...
  • David H.
    I don't consider myself a conservative, but I found out about P.J. O'Rourke during my college years (1980-1984, go Rockhurst!!!). O'Rourke shares tales of his world travels. Check out the one on South Korea, or the one on Poland. What a scream. I still read it sometimes, just for hearty laughs and a shot of great writing. I even got to meet him at a book signing. Great guy.
  • Raegan Butcher
    Hilarious dispatches from some of the world's worst places. This guy is so funny I laugh out loud at his stuff when i'm reading it. No wonder he is (apparently, according to wkipedia) the world's most quoted author! Funny stuff!
  • Stuart Gilkison
    O'Rourkes best book by far.
  • Katjusa
    Hilarious. Some of the best writing I've read recently. Would've given it five stars if the last chapter (his vision of 2013) wasn't so slipshod.
  • Andrew Garvey
    Before reading his late 1980s account of his adventures in some of the world’s (then) worst places – Lebanon, Poland, El Salvador, Israel, South Africa and, erm, Harvard – I’d always been vaguely aware that O’ Rourke’s book was generally regarded as a sort of comedic travel writing classic.Almost thirty years later it still is. Sort of. In places. In other places it’s a crass, borderline racist jumbling of anecdotes and one-liners t...
  • Valerie Kyriosity
    Funny and insightful, but too often in a crass way. Wouldn't want to imbibe too much of O'Rourke. But I am planning on trying the sequel, Holidays in Heck, to see if he's matured a bit in the intervening decades.
  • Diana Isaura
    Maybe I took this book and the issues it presented too seriously for I did not "lol" as much as I had anticipated ("A book that makes you laugh out loud"). It is creatively written and O'Rourke is a great story teller.
  • Michael
    Risking life and limb in such Hellish zones as 1980s Lebanon, El Salvador, and Harvard University, O’Rourke looks “for a good time” amidst the chaos according to the rear cover description… just above the Nixon quote…trippy… While reading this, I assumed he was a journalist that had attempted the objective route during the sundry riots, protests, and Vietnams dotting the sixties and finally said “F**k it! This is all bullsh*t that p...
  • Ian
    Entertaining and acerbicly written, as one might expect. It's also interesting from an historical perspective these days. More depressing is while many of the conflicts and situations described have changed considerably (particularly Beirut and South Africa) similar turmoil has erupted elsewhere. Like the old adage, "the more things change, the more they stay the same". One exception is the section about Warsaw, which anyone visiting modern Polan...
  • Peter rock
    this is a very good book i was always disapointed that P J O'rourke did not focus on dangerous hot spots in america go to save it to favorites and call me in the morning because i am in love with you earth. People of earth what the fuck ya all upset with each other for in groups where it gets messy for those of us that are not upset at all. p j o'rourke one of my fathers required reading projects. Hey my close personal Friends want t...
  • Sally
    "A Trouble Tourist- going to see insurrections, stupidities, political crises, civil disturbances... because it's fun"By sally tarbox on 5 May 2017Format: Kindle EditionLaugh-out-loud adventures from the 1980s, as journalist PJ O'Rourke travels the globe. A Ramble through Lebanon ("in Lebanon you'd be crazy not to have a gun. Though, I assure you, all the crazy people have guns too."). A student protest in S Korea, patrolling the US / Mexico bord...
  • Lili
    I enjoyed my second time through this book more than the first because it rings so true to some of my adventures in "trouble tourism.". There are just so many laugh out loud gems that I can't even begin to list all of them. For example, the phrase "covering a story from Mahogany Ridge," which means working on it in a bar. Of course, my hands down favorite is the ending of the Europe (April to May 1986) essay explaining why the USA has never been ...