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
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
* Henry Ford (in general, but also the Model T, the Model A and - most interestingly - Fordlandia)
* The mafia (specifically Chicago and Al Capone)
A book lover from way back
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.
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!
Bill Bryson captures wonderful vignettes of American culture, finding ways to connect them all in this well researched and written history.
Yes. It would be difficult to plug through all the facts and dates and maintain interest.
The details surrounding events and people in history that I only knew on the surface.
He enunciated everything well. Easy to understand and easy on the ears.
One Great Summer.
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.
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"
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.
I love his combo british - mid American sensibility and the way he seems to always be chuckling at himself under his breath.
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.
I love books!
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.
Didn't see the print version -- loved it in Bryson's own voice
Bryson is in a category of his own. He brings times and places, characters and the dynamics of an era to life.
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.
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.
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.
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