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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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  •  
    Illus Chicago, IL, United States 02-20-14
    Illus Chicago, IL, United States 02-20-14

    denzlite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I don't usually rate these things"

    I'm a pretty hard man to please but I have to concur with the other reviewers here. Not only is this a great read/listen -- it is without a doubt one the top five audiobooks I've listened to in the last couple years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 02-18-14
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2015

    I love books!

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    "interesting"

    Author Bill Bryson grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from Roosevelt HS in 1970 and then Drake University there. After graduating from college he went on a backpacking trip to Europe where he met his future British wife and settled in the United Kingdom for the most part going forward. Bryson is most famous for writing travel books with humor mostly about traveling in Europe and Great Britain but also wrote at least one based in the US on hiking the Applalachian Trail from start to finish. In this book he leaves the travel story genre and writes about a time in the USA's past that he found particularly interesting, the title of this story, "One Summer, America 1927". There was a lot going on in the USA in 1927. Charles Liindbergh flew non-stop from New York City to Paris, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, there was Prohibition, the airline and auto industries were in their infancy, Mt Rushmore was started, Al Capone lived and thrived in Chicago, Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney were famous boxers, Eugenics had a following, decisions were being made that led to the stock market crash in 1929 and ensuing Depresssion, Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ernest Heminway, F Scott Fitzgerald, Harold Belle Wright to name a few were writing books, silent moves were transitioning to "talkies, radio was gaining populairty, the TV was being invented and I've probably missed a few other things. The USA had it going. Bryson does a good job of weaving all of these happenings into an enjoyable story. He's also the narrator. I recommend the book, especially if you like this type of historical novel.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet 02-17-14
    Janet 02-17-14
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    "Bryson at his best"
    Would you consider the audio edition of One Summer to be better than the print version?

    Didn't see the print version -- loved it in Bryson's own voice


    What other book might you compare One Summer to and why?

    Bryson is in a category of his own. He brings times and places, characters and the dynamics of an era to life.


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

    I listened to it over and over in many sittings and settings. Even the statistics about baseball and boxing were delivered in such an interesting way that I was fascinated -- and I'm a fan of no sports.


    Any additional comments?

    Bryson made the era of my grandparents and the precursor to my parent's time come alive. I think I understand them better now. I feel like I walked beside them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Piscopo 02-12-14

    Dan P

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    "Wow"

    25% through and I resolved to listen to it again. A very entertaining read of one summer and it contains so many facets: aviation, world politics and finance, boxing, baseball, tennis. And that's in the first half. Even if you know American history you may not know that people died during Prohibition because liquor was suddenly unregulated and bootleggers sometimes put poison in the booze. On a separate topic the King of England was fascinated by how Lindbergh managed emptying his bladder on his historic flight. It reads like a story you want to take to bed after a hard day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elena Durham, NC, United States 02-10-14
    Elena Durham, NC, United States 02-10-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Book!"
    Where does One Summer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I loved this book. The short stories that weave together to make an entire picture make this perfect for picking up and putting back down again without forgetting the story.


    What other book might you compare One Summer to and why?

    This was pretty typical Bill Bryson, but he does a great job with it.


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

    Getting to know more about the rivalry between Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth was interesting, even though I'm not a baseball fan.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Santa Barbara, CA, United States 02-10-14
    Kate Santa Barbara, CA, United States 02-10-14 Member Since 2014
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    "My favorite book of 2013"
    Would you consider the audio edition of One Summer to be better than the print version?

    Probably--I get more from listening to a book because I can listen to every word (and not speed read like I do print books)


    What other book might you compare One Summer to and why?

    I cannot think of anything to compare it to--it is so unique i how it weaves Lindberg's famous flight and the history of flying, with other significant yet unknown events and people


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

    He is a great narrator--I loved listening to him read his own book. (And I am critical of many authors reading their own works.)


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

    If I had the time, I might have. I was sorry when I got to the end.


    Any additional comments?

    After finishing this book, I also listened to Bryson's other books--A Short History of Nearly Everything and Made in America. He is so entertaining--I am looking forward to listening to other books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    raymond 01-27-14
    raymond 01-27-14
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    "Entertaining Listen"
    What made the experience of listening to One Summer the most enjoyable?

    Bryson deftly links certain historical events and people to the larger and more memorable events of the Summer of 1927.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How very "American" the period was, and how profoundly our current culture is connected to the events and issues of the 20's.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    Bryson has an intelligent and wry delivery, and a keen sense of irony and history.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    There are way too many individual events covered in this book to ever consider making it into a movie.


    Any additional comments?

    A very generalized, but enjoyable, trip through an important period in American cultural history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 01-19-14
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 01-19-14 Member Since 2014

    Jonnie

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    "Story after story...delightful"

    My favorite is still A Walk in the Woods but One Summer is an interesting and fun listen. The personalities and stories are interwoven so sometimes it is a little disorienting but you get used to it and go on. The stories and details keep coming like Niagara Falls so hang on and enjoy them all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cather Cumberland, VA, United States 01-17-14
    Cather Cumberland, VA, United States 01-17-14 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bill Bryson. 'Nufsed"

    This is the man who could make a trip to the post office interesting (and has), and could probably make a reading of the tax code entertaining.

    And this... isn't a trip to the post office, and it isn't the tax code. Aeronautics history. Corruption. Sex and violence. Baseball. Boxing. Prohibition and gangsters. Murder sprees. All delivered with context, wit, and oooooh so much style.

    I'm guessing from the fact that you're reading this review that you like audiobooks. That's all I need to know to know that you should STOP reading this review and buy the book. Then go for "A Short History of Nearly Everything" (the unabridged, even though he didn't read it) and "In a Sunburned Country." That should be enough to get you hooked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Little Rock, AR, USA 01-11-14
    Robert Little Rock, AR, USA 01-11-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent as always"
    If you could sum up One Summer in three words, what would they be?

    Bryson is the funniest, most entertaining and educational writer of our time


    What other book might you compare One Summer to and why?

    at Home by Bryson, but this is more topical to USA his recounting about Henry Ford is hilarious


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

    Himself


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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