One Summer: America, 1927 Audiobook | Bill Bryson | Audible.com
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One Summer: America, 1927 | [Bill Bryson]

One Summer: America, 1927

One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, October 2013 - When I'm in the mood for nonfiction, Bill Bryson's brand of witty, creative narrative is exactly what I look for, which is why One Summer: America, 1927; is on my list for October. In this book, Bryson takes us on an in-depth journey through a particularly eventful five months in American history: May - September, 1927. Not all newsworthy stories make it to the front page, but Bryson ensures the obscure, peculiar, and downright fascinating details of this summer are not forgotten, seamlessly weaving them into the events of the big headlines - Charles Lindbergh's solo flight, Babe Ruth's home run streak, and Al Capone's rise to power, to name a few. Self-narrated, One Summer is sure to be must-listen for Bryson fans, nonfiction listeners, and anyone who found themselves obsessing over the details in history class. —Sam, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, History, 2014

One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive for us in this certain best-seller.

©2013 Bill Bryson (P)2013 Random House Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 10-18-13
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 10-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Why 1927?"

    I wasn’t worried about buying this book without knowing what it was about, because I trust Bill Bryson to be worth the risk, and he didn’t let me down.

    At first it appears to be the story of Charles Lindbergh’s solo crossing of the Atlantic, but then it expands to also become the story of all the other interesting things that were going on in America that summer. Bryson rambles from story to story in no particular logical order, but all the characters he mentions are colourful and fascinating, such as Babe Ruth, Al Capone and Jack Dempsey.

    Bryson’s style is very distinctive, full of superlatives and yet simultaneously laced with dry understatement. He is also the narrator of this audiobook, and he does a great job (although his French pronunciation isn’t great!).

    He is such a brilliant storyteller that you wonder if 1927 was an exceptionally interesting year, or whether Bryson could write a similar book about any year and make it just as fascinating. I think the latter is probably true.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teacher Lady Midwest 10-08-13
    Teacher Lady Midwest 10-08-13 Member Since 2005
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    "Another fascinating foray with Bill Bryson"
    What made the experience of listening to One Summer the most enjoyable?

    The content of the book; Bryson is such a wordsmith, and I love how he weaves all the events of the summer together with interesting, odd, even weird, details. I could clearly see my grandparents sitting in their parlor, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, and discussing these events.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    In reverse, my least favorite characters were Hoover, Lindbergh, and Henry Ford. They don't come off as very pleasant people, but I really enjoyed reading (hearing) about their idiosyncrasies.


    What three words best describe Bill Bryson’s voice?

    Warm, pleasant, humorous. I hate to say it, but I was a bit disappointed with the narration of this one, though. It seemed full of unnatural hesitations and pauses.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was moved by how innocent America was in 1927. Even after the horrors of WWI, it seems like we were just on the cusp of worldliness. My mother was born in the spring of 1927, so it was great fun for me to imagine my grandparents, young and happy with a new baby girl, reacting to the events of that summer.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a wonderful book, make no mistake about that. The cadence of the narration just seemed slightly self-conscious. There were parts where Bryson apparently forgot he was narrating and just told the story naturally, and those were the parts I enjoyed most. I will still eagerly anticipate future audiobooks written and narrated by this author.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Selinsgrove, PA, United States 10-15-13
    E. Selinsgrove, PA, United States 10-15-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Bryson Doing What He Does Best"

    BB could tell a story about his shopping trip to YOUR Supermarket and you could be sure of two things:
    1. You would be thoroughly entertained, and
    2. You would learn a lot about the place where you have shopped for years.

    The year 1927 was a year of firsts, lasts, prophetic beginnings and tragic endings - precisely the kind of raw material the BB weaves into a tapestry that is wholly Americana. Along the way he adds flesh and bone to the usual sound-bite rehash 1920's history.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli REDDING, CA, United States 11-11-13
    Kelli REDDING, CA, United States 11-11-13 Member Since 2011

    spa wench

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    "i should have listened to sarah"

    amidst all the glowing praise for this audio book is one written by a reviewer named Sarah. her description fits my experience almost perfectly. i have to say that I didn't enjoy the subject matter as much as she did, partially due to the "herky jerky" aspect of mr bryson's narration. while a brilliant writer, mr brysons speaking voice is strangely lulling. I found myself mentally wandering away from the story often, and struggling with the odd emphasis' and cadence of his speech.

    to soften this review, I have to say that "A Walk In The Woods" is one of my favorite books, ever, and I have read, and enjoyed, most of his other books. this is the first audiobook of his work that I have attempted to listen to.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ethan M. Cambridge, MA 10-24-13
    Ethan M. Cambridge, MA 10-24-13 Member Since 2000

    On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through

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    "Bryson is really good at what he does- a standout"

    If you have read Bill Bryson before, you know what to expect out of One Summer, but that doesn't make it any less amazing. In fact, in many ways, this is a masterclass in Bryson's unique style: a rapid engaging tour through a series of historical incidents (most of which will be unfamiliar to the reader) organized loosely around an unexpected theme. He has done this with science, with the rooms of a house, and now, oddly enough, with the summer of 1927. This ends up being a particularly interesting choice, since the 1920s is often undercovered in history, and the result is a fascinating glimpse of the world becoming "modern" as talking picture, mass celebrity, airplanes, and a host of technologies become mainstream, even as racism and antisemitism appear in virulent forms.

    So, we get to hear about Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, and a range of other compelling figures from the summer of 1927. Bryson does not feel particularly compelled to stick with 1927, and the history weaves back and forth, but, simply because Bryson is so good at this, the story stays compelling and suspenseful despite the loose approach to the telling of history and the many rambling directions of the book. And, of course, Bill Bryson is also a great reader. The whole thing is pleasantly gentle and humorous while full of surprising insights into the time.

    Really, just a wonderful example of popular history set in an understudied time. A great listen all around.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 10-26-13
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 10-26-13 Member Since 2001

    Letting the rest of the world go by

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    "Anecdotal telling of history for one pivotal year"

    I've always loved 1927 America and I love this book. The author ties together the three biggest single events of 1927: Jolson Speaks, The Babe Swats, and Lindbergh Dares and ties them altogether into a coherent narrative. The unfolding of these and other events reveal the process of the times.

    The author wonderfully reads his own book. He's not a professional reader by any means, but he adds the humor, anger or surprise that only an author of his own work could add at the appropriate spots.

    The author, Bill Bryson, puts each major event in its proper context and is at his best when he's not in 1927 but is telling you the before and after stories of the characters. Not to be too much of a spoiler, The Babe is amazing and Lindbergh is a dud (racist, pro-nazi eugenicist, philanderer).

    I love the book, it is marvelously read, I learned a lot, but I would only recommend it for lovers of 1927 or at least the 1920s, and if you do love that period of time by all means get it and enjoy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-15-13
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-15-13 Member Since 2002
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    "another gem by bill bryson"

    It's the combination of great narration, a little bit of United Kingdom dialect, the understated way Bryson tells the story, and knowing the listener has no responsibility to remember any of it....that make Bill Bryson's gems such a wonderful listening experience.
    To summarize, listen to be wonderfully entertained, even if you don't recall one morsel of what the book actually was about.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis United States 10-11-13
    Dennis United States 10-11-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A FUN AND INFORMATIVE LISTEN !"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert LITTLETON, CO, United States 10-08-13
    Robert LITTLETON, CO, United States 10-08-13 Member Since 2002
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    "Woops he did it again."

    Yet another great book by a great author. Is there anything this guy cannot write about. I loved his travel books, his book about a history of everything and even the book about our homes. I was fearful of a failure but once again Bryson brought to life an immensly compelling story. This guy could write a dictionary and I would love it.... Oh yeah, he did and it was great reading believe it or not. Even the book on Shakespere was excellent. Good job Bill, only start cranking em out faster. :)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 12-10-13
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Speaking Bad"
    What did you like best about One Summer? What did you like least?

    I loved the idea of zeroing in on a particular time period. I've read some other Bill Bryson and liked it ok. I haven't seen the book which I hope to get from the library. I can't believe it was written as badly as it was spoken.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of One Summer?

    It was amazing to think that back in those days tens of thousands of people would come out for a celebration of a "hero". I also liked the descriptions of Fordlandia!


    How could the performance have been better?

    A better reader would have done wonders for the book.


    Did One Summer inspire you to do anything?

    Yes. It inspired me to look up Sacco and Vanzetti and perhaps someday(way down the list) to delve into Hoover(Herbert and J.Edgar).


    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson should be informed that he is not a reader!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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