Audible is proud to present One Summer: America, 1927, the new book by Britain’s favourite writer of narrative nonfiction, Bill Bryson.
Narrated by the man himself, One Summer takes you to the summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and changed the world forever. In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day, a semi-crazed sculptor with a plan to carve four giant heads into a mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown, and finished it as the most famous man on Earth.
It was the summer of the first talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone's reign of terror, the ill-conceived decision that led to the Great Depression, and the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of a wheezing, over-the-hill baseball player named Babe Ruth.
With an unforgettable cast of personalities, Bill Bryson spins a story of brawling adventure, reckless optimism, and delirious energy. What a country; what a summer; and what a writer to bring it all so vividly to life.
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951; he moved to and settled in England in 1977, working in journalism until becoming a full-time author. Bryson is much-loved for his best-selling travel books, from The Lost Continent to Down Under, and Notes from a Small Island earned a particularly special place in the nation's heart - a national poll for World Book Day voted it the book that best represents Britain. A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize. Bryson has also written a memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and acclaimed books on language and social history (Mother Tongue, Made in America, At Home).
He lives in the UK with his wife and family, and was awarded an honorary OBE for services to literature.
©2013 Bill Bryson (P)2013 Audible Ltd
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"Great book, great author, not great narration..."
I've loved all his books, I have all of them, and he goes into such depths and tangets that it's very entertaining.
He notices the little things, and is hugely entertaining.
However I'll be buying the actual book to dip into, as the Audible version isn't all that great to listen to. They really should have got a professional narrator to tell the story.
Bryson has a weak spoken voice. I've seen him on TV doing documentaries and he's a weak presenter too.
Recommended, especially to Bryson fans, but if you can, buy the book. It will be on my Xmas list!
"Bill Bryson at his best!"
Firstly, I really enjoyed Bryson reading his own work. I've heard him speak before and think he has a great voice to listen to. I also purchased A Short History of Nearly Everything by him, but it was narrated by someone else and found it hard going. He writes in such a personal way it makes perfect sense it should be his voice you hear.
One summer is a great listen. It's got everything you expect. History told in a manner that has life in it, rather than a barrage of dates and facts with no personality. You can feel the importance of the era, not just for America but the rest of the western world. A sense of what is to come; high amounts of manufactured goods, celebrity worship and most importantly with a sense of hindsight where humanity goes wrong, and still goes wrong; racial divides debated genocide...
It is, of course being a Bill Bryson book mostly light hearted, humorous and easy to enjoy!
Bill Bryson manages to unearth the funny, spicy, juicy or shocking details of every historical event he depicts. Never dull, One Summer is told as an entertaining story whilst teaching the listener about the history of the US.
"Should be Titled 1927ish....."
This book should really be called Charles Lindberg and 1927(ish.). Because yes Lindbergh did fly from New York To Paris in the summer of 1927, but Bryson hangs to much on to this fact, he is like a dog with a bone, it is looked at from every respective and returns to him again and again in different chapters.
1927(ish) because he swings back and forth with some (and there are only few ) very interesting historical stories from the very early 1920’s to the 1930’ Great Depression.
Also, be warned you British, there are almost two full chapters on Baseball, which I found very boring. I know it is USA history, but could they not have produced a UK edition? It is not until the epilogue things come together, but even then he tends to ramble on somewhat.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Bills books dearly and have all of them from day one, on audio in most formats. They are always well researched and usually well written But this one seemed to promise so much and deliver so little. Perhaps a contractual book?
Finally as many others have said, it is his reading He is not a bad narrator, just very dry with no emotion. With very few exceptions (Simon Brett and Stephen Fry being two) authors must learn they are authors, not narrators. I am given to understand it can be very well paid which is perhaps why so may try, and usually fail .
This could have been a so much better book read by William Roberts, who did some of his early books with great aplomb, Roberts brings it alive…. Back off Bill! If you want to start on Bill Bryson go for any of his earlier Travel books, read by Roberts, but not this one. I have given this three stars, but it was only just three stars……
Perfect book to listen to on the road!!
Bill Bryson at his best!
History history history
Loved all the twists and turns Bryson so masterly weaves together. Wonderfully entertaining and informative.
fascinating stories that are well writtern, even the baseball stories,and nicely narrated by Bill Bryson
This book is truly amazing. So well written, narrated and constructed. This must have been so difficult to research and write. It provides so much information of interest and manages to maintain a flowing, logical structure. My favourite non-fiction audiobook to date
"Entertaining Miscellany of Stories"
In this miscellany of well-researched stories about famous figures and events of the 1920s, Bill Bryson is a highly entertaining narrator. Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford, Al Capone and others come to life like never before as Bryson explores aviation, baseball, motion pictures, prohibition, Model T cars and boom-bust politics. Heroes and hero-worshipping are scrutinised satirically - which is possibly Bryson's greatest achievement here. On the other hand the narrative feels a bit disjointed as Bryson shifts back and forth between somewhat disparate stories. And not everything is directly linked to one summer in America in 1927, as one might expect from the title. But in the grand scheme that doesn't really matter if you are prepared to jump with Bryson from one fascinating anecdote to the next. Overall, the experience is enriching and worthwhile.
"One of Bryson's best"
Along with At Home & Short History, Bryson's non-travel books are at least as involving as their travel oriented counterparts. And, for my money, Written Bryson is best read for audiobook by the author himself. Unabridged, as nature intended, this is an 18 hour deep dive into a pivotal moment in American history. Highly recommended.
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