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
I like the way that he comes into and out of the year with such ease Also The Manner He dovetails all the stories at the most important time Hey has a way with words
This is a zippy pop-history of the summer of 1927 in the United States. Without going into any one subject in great detail, Bryson paints a picture of a nation blissfully ignorant of the coming dark days of the Great Depression.
In broad strokes, Bryson recounts the plans & groundbreaking of Mt. Rushmore; Babe Ruth's historic 1927 season and his friendship/rivalry with Lou Gehrig; the toll of The Great Flood; Herbert Hoover's vast reach; Calvin Coolidge's seeming apathy toward the presidency; the landmark musical Showboat; the invention of television alongside the role of radio and film in American life; and, most importantly (and the only subject on which he goes a little deeper than the basic facts) the remarkable response to Charles Lindbergh's famous flight across the Atlantic.
As a narrator, Bryson's hybrid British-American accent can be a bit grating on American ears—"opulent" is pronounced with a long O, for example. It's a minor quibble but worth considering before spending 17 hours listening to the book.
Overall, I found this to be a fun history that will make you feel less guilty for caring more about Ben Affleck's casting as Batman than impending war in Syria; Americans in 1927 turned a blind eye to the myriad disasters, atrocious crimes, and clear warning signs of an economy on the brink in favor of obsessing about baseball, Lindbergh, boxing, and flagpole-sitting.
Bryson almost gleefully portrays Americans as absurdly guileless people, and there is a touch of melancholy to this—since 1927, we have become a nation that has faced a series of challenges that have left us less innocent. Thinking back from The Great Depression – The Great Recession, the summer of 1927 might have been the last time we were a buoyant country.
I have read and loved all of Bill Bryson's books. In this one, Bryson takes many moments in American history and masterfully weaves them together to create an enormously enjoyable book. I highly recommend it.
I read a Bill Bryson book called Home or something like that with great pleasure on vacation once. I opened this book at an airport to a Babe Ruth page and thought 'this looks like fun.' Well, not so much.
The reading of the book, by author Bill Bryson, is curiously subdued. A bit more energy or enthusiasm or something would be warranted occasionally. He should not be encouraged or even allowed to read his own books; leave this to more accomplished readers like Junot Diaz, please.
The book itself is a bit drab. I knew a lot of this history already; perhaps if this was your first venture into the world of the teens, twenties, and and thirties it would be wonderful. For me, it wasn't. Pus, the author always seems a bit puzzled by what he is writing about… is he British, perhaps? Anyway - not one of my better audiobook choices, and not one I would recommend to anyone except the casual reader looking for 'popular' history, I think.
I honestly don't know if this book is good. The performance was so dull and lifeless that I couldn't get through it but Audible insists that all three categories be rated. One of the most crucial steps in audible recording is matching the reader with the book and this did not work for me. I will be very careful in choosing works in the future.
After 40 minutes of listening to just the droning sound of aviation maps and details, people about aviation and weather conditions during first take-offs and on and on...I skipped to the 2nd chapter. I re-read several times the description of the book, thinking that I must have made a mistake, this is all about aviation. I scanned through chapter 2 hoping for some chance of anything interesting to come into my ears...and just as what I thought was a new topic came up on Lindenberg...it turned only back into the most mundane of details about the planes. Look before you think that I don't like aviation, I'll have you know that I just happened to complete all my flight simulator hours and air time before taking my pilots test and this was STILL terribly terribly boring. I wasted money and I'm only in the 2nd chapter. I head a quick reference to Al Capone, but then it naturally merged into the details of the Italian pilot he was sponsoring. I feel mislead by Bryson. I bought his other 3 books and this is a waste of time and money. Not happy.
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