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One summer : America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
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One summer : America, 1927 (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Bill Bryson

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1,8661235,463 (4.07)107
Member:SuziQoregon
Title:One summer : America, 1927
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:New York : Doubleday, [2013]
Collections:Your library, Read
Rating:****1/2
Tags:2018

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One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (2013)

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Bill Bryson, author of memoirs, humorous books, collections of articles, and books on topics that range from the English language to science, now turns his attention to one chronological period: namely, May - September 1927 and the events that occurred in the United States in that time frame.

Beginning with Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic, and following events through late September and the Yankees winning the pennant, Bryson certainly makes his case that 1927 was "one hell of a summer." The range of people and topics involved is staggering. Flight, automobiles, organized crime and Al Capone, motion pictures, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth's crazy home run derby, and boxing are just a smattering of what's included. Bryson has a tendency to include in all his books fascinating but tangential stories that relate somewhat to his topic. I almost had the sense that this was the driving factor behind this book in particular. Though loosely organized chronologically, he has to go back and forth in time giving background information on each of his subjects, so that thread of time is easily lost. Bryson's clearly fascinated with his subject(s), however, and gives readers such fun bits of trivia along the way that those who enjoy that quirky style may not mind in the least. The downside is each of these topics could be, singly, a book of its own (and indeed, are listed in the extensive bibliography and notes for each chapter), so at once it seems over-long to pack in, say, a 25 page epilogue, and also never really goes in depth. Still, it's a fun if occasionally dizzying overview and I found it interesting how many of the topics intersected in surprising ways. ( )
  bell7 | Dec 22, 2018 |
We read this book for our family book club and talked about it for two hours. Some of our discussions were about what disturbed us the most (eugenics), why baseball was so much more popular then (because the skill gap between amateurs and professionals was smaller, for one) and how life back then was much more a shoestring operation. We also debated whether people were all that different and how events garnered massive amounts of attention in a way similar events today don't. This is a book dense with facts and back stories that I would describe as Ken Burns in print (a good thing in my view). ( )
  skavlanj | Nov 22, 2018 |
What a summer 1927 was! I love how Mr. Bryson combines "unrelated" topics and winds them all together. Fantastic listen! ( )
  cubsfan3410 | Sep 1, 2018 |
Bill Bryson can write about anything and make it fascinating. Here he writes about some incredible events that took place during the summer of 1927 and the impact each perosn/event had on America and the world. Reading Bryson is like listening to someone with ADD who has not taken their meds - he starts a paragraph about Babe Ruth, slides onto a famous (at the time) murder), moves onto the state of capitol punishment, diverges onto what people were eating at baseball games back then, and yet somehow manages to tie everything together. Bringing to life, with meticulous research, the stories of Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh and Al Capone, Bryson tells us their stories and how what they did that summer changed us. He also tells us what happened to each character further down the road.... Add to that there is also a mass school massacre, a murder that inspired the movie The Postman always Rings Twice, Lou Gehrig, the original Ponzi of the Ponzi scheme, one of America's dullest Presidents, tennis great Bill Tilden, Henry Ford, Prohibition, the rise of "talkies" the musical Showboat, and so much more. There are so many great tidbits and asides, little things most people don't know or have forgotten, fun facts and background details. Many critics have noted that many events echo recent events (Newtown, extreme weather events, the Stock market crash) and it is interesting to see what may have changed and what has not! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Only in America could so much happen to so few in the summer of 1927. The Twenties in general were a busy time in America and Bill Bryson narrates the facts in his usual, well researched, easy to read style. Many of the biggies from history are prominent in the tales, Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone and Babe Ruth to name just three. I knew of Lindbergh’s flying records but had no idea of his celebrity status at the time, he was bigger than Ben Hur, bigger than Michael Jackson! The physical might of Babe Ruth needs to be read by all. I’m not a baseball fan but I take my hat of to the man, there has never been anyone like him! I’m not even a fan of American history but I do like the way Bill Bryson writes and ‘One Summer:America 1927 hasn’t disappointed me, it was a great read and I learned much I didn’t know. ( )
  Fliss88 | Jul 18, 2018 |
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On a warm spring evening just before Easter 1927, people who lived in tall buildings in New York were given pause when the wooden scaffolding around the tower of the brand new Sherry-Netherland Apartment Hotel caught fire and it became evident that the city's firemen lacked any means to get water to such a height.
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Bryson examines closely the events and personalities of the summer of 1927 when America's story was one of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy.

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