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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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  •  
    N8rdoc Canada 03-29-14
    N8rdoc Canada 03-29-14
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    "Bryson is consistently great!"

    I think the first ever audiobook I listened to was by Bill Bryson & I keep coming back for more! Bryson has the ability to make history really come alive. He is able to weave disparate stories together seamlessly and find amusing anecdotes throughout! I love his narration- you can hear the amusement in his voice, plus I just love the way he says "Warshington"!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey 03-29-14
    Tracey 03-29-14
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    "This book is amazing!"

    It's amazing to me how interwoven our history is. Bill Bryson makes all that clear in this fun book. His narration is great, perfect for this book. It's such a quick and easy listen. Worth the credit or the price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 03-22-14
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 03-22-14
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    "If only Bryson had been my history teacher..."
    Any additional comments?

    If Bill Bryson wrote history textbooks, my knowledge on the topic would likely be improved ten-fold. He’s such a great storyteller, he’s able to suss out the interesting details that make people, places and times come to life.

    In One Summer, he specifically focuses on the events of 1927, though - in honesty - it seems like that’s kind of an excuse for him to write about whatever he found interesting in the first quarter of the century, since he often backtracks to provide back-story leading up to the events of 1927. Regardless, it’s a great ride. One of the reviews I read criticized the book for being disjointed because Bryson hops from topic to topic without a clear plan. That might bother some people, but I didn’t find it distracting.

    This book touches on:


    * Babe Ruth
    * Lou Gerhig
    * Charles Lindbergh
    * Aviation
    * Henry Ford (in general, but also the Model T, the Model A and - most interestingly - Fordlandia)
    * The mafia (specifically Chicago and Al Capone)
    * Prohibition
    * Hollywood

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NC Boy Waynesville, NC USA 03-15-14
    NC Boy Waynesville, NC USA 03-15-14 Member Since 2012

    A book lover from way back

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    "Another Great Book By Bryson"

    When I first saw the title of this book I wasn't terribly intrigued. One summer? 1927? But, given every book I've ever read by Bill Bryson has been well worth it, I figured I'd give it a shot. And boy, am I sure glad I did?!?

    One of the things that I'm always struck about by a good book is how it causes me to think about and become interested in things and people and events that I never was aware of or thought about before. In that context, this book delivers and then some!

    There are so many wonderful characters and events the are brought to life in this book; I'm sure I'll have lots of new things to explore for a long time to come.

    Bill Bryson is easily one of my favorite authors and I eagerly await his next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard C. Sears New York City 03-05-14
    Richard C. Sears New York City 03-05-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Terrible reading job"
    What disappointed you about One Summer?

    The narration.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The reading is so bad, so tin-eared, I was feeling sorry for the author, until I discovered that the reader was actually the author himself. He is always stressing the wrong word. It sounds as if he hadn't read the book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Seattle, WA, United States 03-02-14
    Craig Seattle, WA, United States 03-02-14
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    "A pivotal year, a wonderfully told story..."
    What did you love best about One Summer?

    Bill Bryson captures wonderful vignettes of American culture, finding ways to connect them all in this well researched and written history.


    What three words best describe Bill Bryson’s voice?

    Too nasally


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 02-28-14
    Emily 02-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    "LOVED the in-depth details."
    Would you consider the audio edition of One Summer to be better than the print version?

    Yes. It would be difficult to plug through all the facts and dates and maintain interest.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The details surrounding events and people in history that I only knew on the surface.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    He enunciated everything well. Easy to understand and easy on the ears.


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

    One Great Summer.


    Any additional comments?

    Found this difficult to stop listening to and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the extensive details of people and events I've learned about but knew little about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ann United States 02-27-14
    Ann United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2013
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    "How could you not love Bill Bryson?"
    Where does One Summer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I love Bill Bryson. I don't think he has published much I haven't read. This is high on my list of Bryson favorites. Perhaps third behind "A Walk in the Woods" and "The Thunderbolt Kid"


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

    Not a book, but this one reminded me of the wonderful documentaries the History Channel used to do with Edward Herman Narration. If you don't love history, travel, and lots of lists, Bryson might not be your guy. If, however, you loved "around the world in 80 days" on PBS with Michaels Palin, you will love this.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    I love his combo british - mid American sensibility and the way he seems to always be chuckling at himself under his breath.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Illus Chicago, IL, United States 02-20-14
    Illus Chicago, IL, United States 02-20-14

    denzlite

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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
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    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 02-18-14
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2015

    I love books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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