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Holidays in Heck, by PJ O'Rourke

(Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

Sometimes, it's good to poke fun and have a laugh at your countrymen's expense, and PJ O'Rourke, with his wry sense of humour, does this well in his latest book Holidays in Heck.

O'Rourke's description of a trip to the Galapagos Islands on a boat loaded with Republicans is hilarious.


Despite the humour he still manages to get across a serious message about the difficulty of keeping the islands pristine. Similarly, the former war correspondent's visit to China in 2006 was almost prescient, particularly a fascinating comment by an astute Chinese businessman on how his country was capturing international trade.

Just think what's happened since.

In this witty book, looking back on journeys made over 10 years, the author touches on many subjects from the British stag and fox hunting scene to the European Union and war-ridden Afghanistan.

Funniest of all, though, are O'Rourke's stories about trips with his wife and three small children; his pen may drip disparagement but his love for them shines through.