This is a very good book. Bryson weaves together the worlds of politics, aviation, sports, entertainment, crime, invention, and business to give a snapshot view of the United States in 1927.. It works very well and is a pleasure to read. However, Bryson should stick to writing. I had just listened to several books read by actors, and there is a big difference between a professional voice and an amateur. With Bryson, the listener is distracted by his uneven accent -- where is he from, California? with a touch of Brit? Canada? I kept thinking of the characters on Saturday Night Live's skit, "The Californians."And it is just not smooth. The wrong words are emphasized in the narratives and it is really distracting. I finally bought the book and started from the beginning to read it myself. I loved it!
Is there nothing that Bill Bryson can't take and make fascinating? Just one summer in America and I feel like I was there.
I've listened to every Bryson book out there and this one is among the top.
Bryson entertains and teaches at the same time. From the most minutia details to broad strokes, he covers everything.
Also, he reads his books with a warm engaging voice. I feel like a partner curled up next to him as he reads. Very intimate.
If this is your first Bryson book, listen to it, and then get all the others.
One of my favorite authors but not one of my favorite's by him. Would definitely recommend A Short History of Nearly Everything and Neither Here Nor There.
No one should narrate Bryson except Bryson. He is always superbly himself:)
This was, as always, entertaining and informative. Several other books by Bill Bryson have set the bar and this one didn't quite measure up.
Say something about yourself!
I can no longer see well enough to read the hard copy version, so I can't answer that question. I will say, however, that my husband and I listened to "One Summer" while on a long car trip. We loved being able to listen to Bryson read his own work--and to put the right twist on his humorous asides. We also felt like we were getting a bit of a history class, but with a really funny professor. Last, being an aviation-oriented household, it was absolutely fascinating to hear about the dawn of flight, and all the fuss around Charles Lindbergh.
The thing about a Bill Bryson book is that there are always so many wonderful moments, it's hard to pick one. I will admit I still laugh, to this day, about the glass jars Bryson talked about in "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid." Oh, wait. Different Bill Bryson book. Okay, so this one has a little something for everyone--historic flights, natural disasters, inside info on one of most demonized presidents...it's all there.
As with any Bryson book narrated by the author himself (with his quirky, Iowan-almost-turned-Brit accent), it's all good.
Well, I could have. But there is so much intriguing information in here, you kind of want to listen and then maybe hit the rewind button and listen again, just to savor it. I haven't had exactly the what-will-happen-next feeling I had while reading "Seabiscuit," or "The Boys in the Boat." But I look forward to each moment I spend with this book.
Perfect for Bryson fans. Perfect for fans of "Unbroken," "Boys in the Boat," or any David McCullough books.
I am a huge fan of Bill Bryson's books and read or listen to them over and over. I find it unusual for an author to be a successful reader of his own books, but Bryson is a riot. His flat, matter-of-fact presentation has a way of making the most mundane of subjects hilarious.
This is a zippy pop-history of the summer of 1927 in the United States. Without going into any one subject in great detail, Bryson paints a picture of a nation blissfully ignorant of the coming dark days of the Great Depression.
In broad strokes, Bryson recounts the plans & groundbreaking of Mt. Rushmore; Babe Ruth's historic 1927 season and his friendship/rivalry with Lou Gehrig; the toll of The Great Flood; Herbert Hoover's vast reach; Calvin Coolidge's seeming apathy toward the presidency; the landmark musical Showboat; the invention of television alongside the role of radio and film in American life; and, most importantly (and the only subject on which he goes a little deeper than the basic facts) the remarkable response to Charles Lindbergh's famous flight across the Atlantic.
As a narrator, Bryson's hybrid British-American accent can be a bit grating on American ears—"opulent" is pronounced with a long O, for example. It's a minor quibble but worth considering before spending 17 hours listening to the book.
Overall, I found this to be a fun history that will make you feel less guilty for caring more about Ben Affleck's casting as Batman than impending war in Syria; Americans in 1927 turned a blind eye to the myriad disasters, atrocious crimes, and clear warning signs of an economy on the brink in favor of obsessing about baseball, Lindbergh, boxing, and flagpole-sitting.
Bryson almost gleefully portrays Americans as absurdly guileless people, and there is a touch of melancholy to this—since 1927, we have become a nation that has faced a series of challenges that have left us less innocent. Thinking back from The Great Depression – The Great Recession, the summer of 1927 might have been the last time we were a buoyant country.
He makes history interesting. It’s a fine story about a number of things happening in 1927.
My one complaint was the author jumping around too much. I loved what I learned about Charles Lindbergh, but it was told in pieces. Part of the story is told, then other stories are begun, then we return to more about Lindbergh, then to other stories, etc. I’d prefer all the Lindbergh parts together, all the Babe Ruth parts together, etc. - each subject having its own complete chapter.
Other subjects included Jack Dempsey, Henry Ford, Herbert Hoover, President Coolidge, Al Capone, Mississippi flood, disastrous costs of prohibition, and silent pictures to talkies. There were a surprising number of bombs in the U.S. back then. The government never caught most of the attackers. They thought some were done by Italian anarchists living in the U.S.
The author Bill Bryson narrated his book. He was easy to understand and told it well. At times I wondered about his accent - his odd pronunciation of some words. The recording equipment was good. I did not hear his breaths - yay.
Genre: nonfiction, American history.
Over the years I have liked and to some degree not liked Bill Bryson's books. I am one of the few who thought his ' A Walk In The Woods ' book to be rather boring. I started reading 'At Home' and never finished it, too long and too much detail. But with this book he has hit a home run. I found the details behind the legends to be fascinating and he presented each story with just enough detail, no boring facts to fill a few more pages. I learned a lot about individuals and important moments in history that previously I thought I knew all that could be known. Mr. Bryson delivers in a fun and easy to listen to way. So I can recommend this enjoyable book to anyone with even the smallest amount of curiosity. A really, really good book. Congratulations Mr. Bryson.
I stuck with this book for the duration, and the story--interwoven stories really--were interesting and well told. The reason it was hard to stay the course, however, was Bill Bryson's performance. I found his voice strange in affect, cadence and pronunciation. His odd manner and herky jerky style were a constant distraction for me. I can't imagine why he was allowed to do his own narration, so I can only assume that he insisted. Too bad, because the book really is worth your time. I'd just recommend you get it through your eyes instead of your ears.
I loved this book, especially the way the author weaves the story around two major figures, Charles Lindberg and Babe Ruth. As readers we are given an amazing picture of the history of much more than the summer of 1927: the unfolding of politics, aviation, sports (baseball, boxing), and every arena of life in the 1920's and beyond. Bravo Bill Bryson.