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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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  •  
    Annie M. 10-29-13
    Annie M. 10-29-13 Member Since 2007

    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
  •  
    flossdaily Bayonne, NJ, United States 04-01-14
    flossdaily Bayonne, NJ, United States 04-01-14 Member Since 2011

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

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    "I could listen to Bill Bryson all day. And I did."

    This isn't one of Bryson's best, but even when he's not on his A-game he's still entertaining.

    I learned a lot from this book, and was drawn in by Bryson's masterful storytelling. He got me to care about all sorts of things that I really wouldn't have ever given a thought to. That is his gift.

    if you're a Bryson fan, go for it. This book is fun.

    If you've never given Bryson a try, don't start here... try Lost Continent, A Brief History of Nearly Everything or A Walk in the Woods.

    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 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
  •  
    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
  •  
    Kevin A. Campbell Atlanta, GA 12-10-14
    Kevin A. Campbell Atlanta, GA 12-10-14

    Casual Customer

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    "What fun!"

    This is an easy one to get through. As always, Bryson keeps it amusing, yet informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yon 12-02-14
    Yon 12-02-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Bill Bryson rocks."
    Would you consider the audio edition of One Summer to be better than the print version?

    I love Bill Bryson's narrating. So I'm definitely a fan of the audio version.


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

    Just the fact that he could get a person like me who's absolutely disinterested in baseball to gain a more full appreciation for the sport as a classic American pastime.


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    As good as the others.


    Any additional comments?

    I love Bill Bryson because he provides a lot of very interesting tidbits about subjects that I never would have cared to research on my own. And his humor is definitely a hoot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Littman OH 11-27-14
    D. Littman OH 11-27-14 Member Since 2003

    history buff

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    "Life is like a box of candy, so are Bryson books"

    Bryson books are like confections, like a box of candy with multiple, surprising fillings. This book is no exception although it is the first I have listened to out of the Audible stable. Bryson tells & interweaves many stories to keep the otherwise too long narrative fresh & interesting. This book focuses on many personalities of the period, among the major ones Lindbergh, Harding, Coolidge & Ford. Lindbergh & flying is a particular focus as are the [now] minor or forgotten colleagues in flight of the period. Bryson's works are not deep, not analytical. I might say "shallow" but I never feel that way when reading his work. I know I can find other works (indeed he often refers to those other works in the text) if I want to dig deeper. I am pretty familiar with the 1920s & with his main characters but I did not find much to complain about in his narrative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Bellerose San Francisco, CA United States 11-27-14
    R. Bellerose San Francisco, CA United States 11-27-14 Member Since 2004

    grimstad

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    "Ok, notwithstanding lack of objectivity"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It's rigid point of view.


    Has One Summer turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    Always.


    Did One Summer inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Bryson bolsters his prejudgment about the authorship question with straw dogs and suppositions, but while he has added nothing of value to that scholarship, there is much to enjoy in this book about the period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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