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Another terrific book by Bill Bryson. I had no idea so many memorable events and people made history in 1927. Includes Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, the dawn of talking movies, carving Mt. Rushmore and the greatest baseball team of all time - the 1927 New York Yankees with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. And many more. Very entertaining and well researched. I also really enjoyed listening to the audio CD version.
This is, for the most part, a witty, amusing read, as most books of Bryson's are -- he has a gift for spotting (and lampooning) the most absurd bits of historical trivia, as those familiar with his travel books know quite well. And this was an interesting topic for a book -- 1927 was, indeed, a rather remarkable summer, given that it included, among many other things, Babe Ruth's home run record, Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic, and the filming of "The Jazz Singer". However, I think the overall feel was a bit too anecdotal. There needed to be a stronger thesis tying all of these events together to really make this book feel like it had something to say other than, "Look at these things that happened one year." You'll enjoy reading it nonetheless -- but you'll come away feeling ever-so-slightly dissatisfied.
Unlike most of Bryson's other books, this is a heavy historical doorstop. It took me ages to get through it; it's well-written and thorough, but not really what I was thinking of when I picked it up. Fault of mine? Maybe a fault on both sides, really, since that doesn't change the fact that although the book is /interesting/, it's still a lot of work to read. I had to set aside two weeks and renew everything else I had out.
A romp theough only one summer in the history of the U.S., but written in a humorous way that makes me want to know a LOT more about American history. A great read!
Amazing that one year could have as many historic events as 1927 - Charles Lindberg crosses the Atlantic and becomes an international hero; Al Capone becomes the legend that he is; Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney have the still controversial fight of the century; Henry Ford becomes rich and famous with his Model T, then completely flops with his Model A, which allows GM to take over as industry leader; the Mount Rushmore carvings begin.
Bryson manages to skillfully weave all these stories and many more in a fascinating and entertaining account of 1927. He does jump around a lot but manages to do so quite skillfully. Overall an enjoyable book!!
Disappointing - a very selective history, exaggerated in some instances to buttress his point that he believes the summer of 1927 to be singular in its remarkable events. Offers no citations to read more about the points the author makes. Slightly 'snarky' humor about many historical figures.
Interesting book. Effective narrative that uses the focus on a single year, that cumulatively characterizes the 1920s.
At first thoroughly entertaining and engaging, but soon becomes something of a slog as Bryson's narrative throughline unravels and the book becomes a jumbled collection of anecdotes and profiles. Bryson's writing style is as charming as ever but it can't support the exhausting add-a-pearl style of the book's second half, which peters out and ends, unceremoniously, with a series of what are essentially obituaries for the people featured that, at best, underlines the capricious nature of fate (about half died miserably in forgotten poverty) and at worst feels lazy and inconclusive. It also has the feel of a book meant to sit by the toilet, as Bryson repeats facts and has an irritating habit of ending segments with phrases like "little did they know, this was only the beginning". As a whole, the end result is frustrating, particularly given the promising beginning. Not Bryson's best.
What I liked best about this book was the way Bryson shows the people we most often think of as heroes as fully human. The reader is shown the failings and faults of people like Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover and many others as well as the characteristics which helped them accomplish much more than most of us ever will.
Something of a disappointment. I have thoroughly enjoyed some of his other books but this one did not speak to me, and was lacking in the humour that I have come to expect from Bill Bryson.
Fascinating book...made these people from a summer over 87 years ago come alive and how very interesting they were too. Highly recommended!
I highly recommend the audiobook - this fascinating interweaving of multiple very significant events & people is made even better with Bryson's warm, good-humored voice. The same goes for the books of his I've read - my favorites are A Walk in the Woods and Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. He's terrific!
Very good book. I recomend it to any one wanting to know more about Lindberg.
One Summer --- by Bill Bryson. Bryson has written what is indeed an interesting book of history. What makes the book interesting, in addition to the way Bryson tells us about it is two-fold. Fist of all, this is the history of not so long ago. Many will remember these names from TV re-runs or old books in attics. We may remember them, in passing, from some arid History class somewhere in our past. This history of this book has some direct links to the present day: names like RCA or Ford are still of our vernacular today. The other reason this book is so interesting a book of history has to do with how Bryson looks at history. His is a social history, a history of society: not much Politics or international affairs here. The examines looks at the components of what made up the American scene, if you will, during the summer of 1927. The fact that some of subjects were quirky or colourfu,l to say the least, doesn’t hurt the book one iota. There’s Charles Lindbergh, first to singly fly the Atlantic Ocean to Europe who also managed to sire a number of offspring in Germany while there. There was Babe Ruth: the baseball diamond wasn’t the only place he set records for home runs. There was strange experiment known as prohibition and Al Capone who was to neatly benefit from it. The tale goes on: Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge, footnotes to American history. Henry Ford, eccentric to say the least; the convicted anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti; eugenics, and the Klu Klux Clan. In 1927, The United States was a fantastic place but also a scary place. Bryson’s book won’t let you stop till you’ve read all about it, warts and all.Complete with bibliography. You'll have to read fast (not a problem): this book is in demand. Two weeks instead of the usual three weeks was the lending period.And forget about renewals.
This book is an inspiration to check out what else her wrote: the list is long.
Wow! I couldn't put it down and then was upset when I finished! While these events were known to me, it was eye opening to see how they all happened in the same time frame. I could feel the excitement of America the summer of '27. I hope that Bryson writes another book like this for a different time in history!
Like in At Home, Bryson uses a loose premise to explore a variety of topics. This book is better at giving a sense of America in the Roaring Twenties than a comprehensive lesson in it, but Bryson's insights are so keen and so witty that I hardly cared. The audiobook, read by the author, is also magnificent.
As Bryson flips from one storyline to another, he does try to relate how events are overlapping in America's newspapers; but there is a curious lack of thesis here. Maybe that's okay. Maybe it's enough that 1927 was an eventful year.