I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I love history, particularly integrated history, yet this book did not work for me. This is partly because I am largely uninterested in baseball, boxing, and gangsters, so I found those anecdotes unexciting. Then there was a lot on Charles Lindbergh's solo Atlantic flight. This was mildly interesting, but was mostly anecdotal as opposed to historical. Although Lindbergh's flight was an important achievement, it was an achievement that was inevitable to occur around that time. The author, in the final chapter, attempts to address this weakness by suggesting that it was not inevitable that an American would be the first, and this shifted history towards an American century. I really doubt this. I suspect that if some French person was first, America would still have risen both generally and in aviation. There were other stories about Ford, Hoover, and Coolidge, but little I found particularly interesting.
This is not at all a bad book if you like lots of anecdotes from the past, but it is not really history, and there is little insight here. Perhaps a nice beach read.
The narration was fine, but not extraordinary.
If I wanted a biography of Lindbergh, I would have bought one. This book is billed as about the summer of 1927, but Bryson spends so much time on backstories that I felt the book hardly touched on that summer. So much time was spent on Charles Lindbergh that Bryson should have just written about him. I was sorely disappointed with this book.
Great story about a largely forgotten era. Key figures and events make for moments intrigue every minute. The readers vocal tone may leave something to be desired but the story makes up for it in droves.
I have read or listened to many Bill Bryson books, and One Summer is definitely my favorite. It grabbed my interest at the start, and never let go. There were just so many fascinating things that happened in America in 1927. Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, prohibition and gangsters, anarchists, etc.. This book goes deeply enough into the key characters to satisfy, but also has so many fascinating stories. I sometimes look at life today and think with nostalgia about what life must have been like in those simple olden days. Reading this, you see America in 1927 for the good and the bad, and I realize life today is not so bad. If social history has any interest to you, you should try this book. The author narrated it, and it took me a while to get used to his voice. I wish he had left that job to a professional. Still, I loved the book.
Bryson is a great researcher and a brilliant writer. He can make anything entertaining. I've read most of his books. Still in this book, I did find myself skipping some sections of people I didn't find all that interesting when he was writing about aviation. Other sections great! Loved the baseball and boxing details. I kept saying to my husband, "did you know that . . . "
As much as l like Bryson as a writer, I would have enjoyed a professional performance of this book. I almost quit listening, but then adjusted to Bryson voice and style and finished it. I'm glad I did.
I really enjoyed the material and the writing. Bryson has a rare talent for weaving facts into an absorbing story, he just shouldn't narrate it out loud. As interested as I was in the what was being said, I was constantly distracted by Bryson's odd hybrid accent and annoying pacing. Worth listening to, but would have been much better with a professional reader at the mic.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
This isn't one of Bryson's best, but even when he's not on his A-game he's still entertaining.
I learned a lot from this book, and was drawn in by Bryson's masterful storytelling. He got me to care about all sorts of things that I really wouldn't have ever given a thought to. That is his gift.
if you're a Bryson fan, go for it. This book is fun.
If you've never given Bryson a try, don't start here... try Lost Continent, A Brief History of Nearly Everything or A Walk in the Woods.