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……
"Great - if you like lots of baseball data"
Some parts of this history were really interesting but others were deathly boring. I really like Bill Bryson's books but this had way too many baseball figures. Also, I'm sorry Bill but your performance was boring. It also sounded like the sound engineers had cut and pasted different versions mid sentence sometimes. A great book to fall asleep to.
I didn't realise a history book that only covered one year could be so interesting. Ideal for listening in short bursts before bed as Bryson's voice is very relaxing, or in the car. My only complaints are his habit of referring to "the whole world" when he means America and western Europe, and I would have liked a bit less baseball and more about the gangsters. But this book is really well researched with lots of detail and "well I never" moments so I liked it a lot.
utterly compelling narration of a pivotal year in modern history, Bill makes the time come alive
"full of interesting facts"
A comprehensive look at the summer of 1927, which seems to be on completion of this book, the most extravagant and action packed year in American history.
"great to hear the author in his own voice"
great to hear the author in his own voice. although not a professional, Bill is authentic
"Interesting & Eclectic"
An interesting an varied romp through one very important - but often overlooked - slice of American history.
As always with Bryson, his scope is wide and the topics covered range from the flying career of Charles Lindbergh to the batting average of Babe Ruth via famous trials, Al Capone and politics. The eclectic nature and Bryson's ability to disappear down a tangent for a chapter or two can be a mite frustrating at times but it all get wrapped up at the end with an epilogue rounding off the lives of the key players.
As always, Bryson's delivery is excellent - he has a mellow reading voice and a nice sense of the absurd, really bringing out the humour in his writing. He's a great reader of his own work.
In summary, this is not a detailed history of any of the subjects Bryson touches on but it does do an excellent job of introducing each topic and giving an overall picture of one important summer.
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