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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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  •  
    Kelli REDDING, CA, United States 11-11-13
    Kelli REDDING, CA, United States 11-11-13

    spa wench

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annie M. 10-29-13
    Annie M. 10-29-13 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Bryson hits it out of the park again!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of One Summer to be better than the print version?

    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.


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

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Bill Bryson – was your favorite?

    As with any Bryson book narrated by the author himself (with his quirky, Iowan-almost-turned-Brit accent), it's all good.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Perfect for Bryson fans. Perfect for fans of "Unbroken," "Boys in the Boat," or any David McCullough books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 12-10-13
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2011
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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
  •  
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 10-19-13
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 10-19-13
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    "Outstanding, as usual"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda SPRINGFIELD, VA, United States 10-27-13
    Melinda SPRINGFIELD, VA, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2013
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    "An honest and eye-opening look at the heady years"
    Would you try another book from Bill Bryson and/or Bill Bryson?

    Yes


    What did you like best about this story?

    The in-depth, lack-of-fear look at the 'heros' of the early 20th century.


    Did Bill Bryson do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes


    Did One Summer inspire you to do anything?

    Check out more of Bryson's work


    Any additional comments?

    Great stories. An eye-opening look at history. However, it was all diluted by Bryson's narration of his work. He should have left that to someone else.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 11-01-13
    Sarah 11-01-13
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    "Good author…who should NOT read his own work."

    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.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 06-20-15
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 06-20-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent and educational in an entertaining way"

    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.

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grotshops 05-27-15
    Grotshops 05-27-15
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    "Breezy and entertaining"

    Bryson is an excellent storyteller, and does a good job of weaving together a variety of anecdotes to evoke the spirit of an interesting era time in American culture. While there isn't anything here that couldn't be gleaned from a survey of Wikipedia, Bryson accomplishes his Objective of recreating a sense of what it was like to live through the American summer of 1927. I found the audiobook entertaining, though not compelling. I think most listeners would enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bret 05-27-15
    Bret 05-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Bryson Tops His Best"

    My previous favorite of Bryson's had been A Walk In The Woods. And like that work he so thoroughly and exhaustively covers this subject that the reader almost feels like they've lived through the summer of 1927. I had no idea the number of hugely impactful, fortuitous, and even just plain crazy events that occurred that year that still impact our world today (and some that, thankfully, don't. ie Prohibition). Incredibly entertaining, awe inspiring and fact-filled, this book is one case where fact is definitely stranger than fiction in almost every case. Bryson handles this incredible wealth of cultural happenings with his same characteristic easy-to-read, humorous style that has made him a life long favorite of mine. Covering topics from aviation to baseball to politics this book really is great for everyone! Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul S. 05-18-15
    Paul S. 05-18-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting"

    Very well written with a wonderful flow between key figures. Extensive historical data on each key figure made the book very interesting and alive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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