After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a few years, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him.But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and Gardeners' Question Time.
Bill Bryson, geb. 1951 in Des Moines, Iowa, zog 1977 nach Grossbritannien und schrieb dort mehrere Jahre u. a. für die 'Times' und den 'Independent'. Mit seinem Englandbuch 'Reif für die Insel' gelang Bryson der Durchbruch, und heute ist er in England einer der erfolgreichsten Sachbuchautoren der Gegenwart. Seine Bücher werden in viele Sprachen übersetzt, stürmen stets die internationalen Bestsellerlisten. 1996 kehrte Bill Bryson mit seiner Familie in die USA zurück, wo es ihn jedoch nicht lange hielt; er war wieder 'reif für die Insel', wo er heute wieder lebt.