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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

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Annie M. 10-29-13
    Annie M. 10-29-13 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Anita PORTLAND, OR, United States 07-25-14
    Anita PORTLAND, OR, United States 07-25-14 Member Since 2015

    madhswife

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    "All this, and my dad was only three years old...."

    I had no idea I would learn more about American history through one single summer's perspective than I did in two high school and six college courses! Bill Bryson is the genius who was able to give me that opportunity. And, you'll miss out if you don't listen to him narrate his own words... I can only hope he never stops writing and reading!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 01-11-14
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 01-11-14 Member Since 2009

    Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.

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    "Bryson can make any topic capturing."
    Would you listen to One Summer again? Why?

    No, the tale is a wonderful listen, and has plenty of content but nothing that needs to be reexamined. Once told and heard is enough thank you.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Done well but letf you with the threat that we, like the story's characters, will all have an end; a passing. Did not leave me threatened. Just in melocholia. Seems like Mr. Bryson is considering the duration of all things human.


    What does Bill Bryson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is a very competent reader, yet this book, I suspect, would be a good read as well as being a good listen.


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

    No, a little here and then a little more there seemed to be just right. Yet, it wa a pleasant drift into facts and data told in a most charming manner.


    1 of 1 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
  •  
    Patrick LITTLETON, CO, United States 10-08-13
    Patrick LITTLETON, CO, United States 10-08-13 Member Since 2013
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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 4 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
  •  
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 08-05-15
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 08-05-15 Member Since 2012
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    "The perfect summertime history book"

    Bryson's an expert of the pop history novel and One Summer is, again, one of his best. Bryson jumps through several decades to tell the story of 1927 in America, a year that history doesn't usually remember quite as well as, say 1865, 1941, or 2001, and yet our modern age would be entirely different without it This is the perfect summertime history book and should not be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maya 07-24-15
    Maya 07-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Exceptional!"

    One Summer smoothly interweaves non-fiction events and characters into an engrossing narrative. If only all our historical education were so richly contextualized!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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