...Bryson is often just playing at being a curmudgeon. Essentially genial, he remains devoted to a host of 'pleasing Britannic things,' from the small to the significant: 'On tricky and emotive issues like gun control, abortion, capital punishment, the teaching of evolution in schools, the use of stem cells for research, and how much flag waving you have to do in order to be considered acceptably patriotic, Britain is calm and measured and quite grown up.'
...occasionally Bryson can go too far in playing the curmudgeon. But he makes up for it in two ways that make him not only a palatable travel companion but a very nearly ideal one ... The first is that, like the British, he’s well-versed in the fine art of self-deprecation ... The second is that Bryson’s capacity for wonder at the beauty of his adopted homeland seems to have only grown with time.