I've had trouble finding his full biographical information, but gather that he moved to the UK just after college (to escape the Vietnam draft, perhaps?), worked as a proofreader and then as a journalist for newspapers there, and returned — to Hartford, Connecticut — in 1997.

Bryson is worth reading as a serious writer and stylist as well as a humorist. A Walk in the Woods and Mother Tongue especially are informative and well-written practical literature, humor aside. There are hysterical bits in all his writing, but also many earnest and not at all happy passages; he isn't straining for one-liners. Like any good journalist, his commitment is to connect readers to the subject; his superpower is to do so with enough honesty to point out humor when it's there.

In 2002, Broadway Books printed a revised edition (hardcover, 224 pages, ISBN 0767903854) of his proofreading handbook as Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words. It's friendly and reasonably comprehensive, but seems to be selling more on name recognition (and the "gee, isn't English lovably crazy?" meme) than as serious competition to Kingsley Amis' The King's English or Fowler's.