Book Review: O My America!

TRAVEL writer Sara Wheeler has tackled some of the toughest conditions an explorer can.

And she chose her mid-life to return to the gentler waters of America, a place she visited 35 years ago travelling on the famous Greyhound buses.

On this journey Wheeler takes along some travel companions. There is Fanny Trollope, the mother of Anthony and author of the biting Domestic Manners of the Americans, the actress Fanny Kemble, who shocked the nation with her passionate first hand indictment of slavery, economist Harriet Martineau and Rebecca Burlend, who had never travelled more than 12 miles outside her Yorkshire village before she set sail to the New World.

They are joined by traveller Isabella Bird who battled her ailments so she could experience the wonders of the world and the novelist Catherine Hubback, niece of Jane Austen, who put her husband in a madhouse and then rode the brand new rails to San Francisco.

As usual, Wheeler writes with humour and knowledge in another fine book.

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O My America! Second Acts in a New World by Sara Wheeler, hardback and ebook, £20, published by Jonathan Cape, www.rbooks.co.uk