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Made in America | [Bill Bryson]

Made in America

In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.
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Publisher's Summary

In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.

©1994 Bill Bryson; (P)2002 BBC Audiobooks Limited

What the Critics Say

"Bryson offers a playfully anecdotal account of the etymology of distinctive words and phrases that help to create a distinctly American English." (Publishers Weekly)
"A treat....Filled with surprises....A literate exploration of why we use, or mangle, our native tongue." (USA Today)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (271 )
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3.9 (199 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Thomas S Kovacs United States 01-09-14
    Thomas S Kovacs United States 01-09-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bryson OK Roberts not so much"
    Would you listen to Made in America again? Why?

    I just started to listen but one thing is very clear to me,Bill Bryson needs to read his own books. The narrator doesn't make me want to keep listening but I will.


    Would you be willing to try another one of William Roberts’s performances?

    No


    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tushan West MeltonAustralia 09-30-08
    Tushan West MeltonAustralia 09-30-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Made In America"

    A fantastic listen as it is very well written and read. The anecdotes and historical context to the subject matter are very interesting. I loved it and would definitely recommend it.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Los Angeles, CA, United States 02-28-14
    John Los Angeles, CA, United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2002
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    "Bryson Not Reading Makes For a Rare Fail"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Bill Bryson is both a great writer and reader. His books have been a high point in my time here at Audible, but the William Roberts doesn't get Bryson's pacing or timing and as a result much of the humor is lost. If Audible could get a rerecord, I would recommend this, but I would suggest not downloading it and reading it on paper or digital over this performance.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean CM Marin, CA, USA 01-29-14
    Sean CM Marin, CA, USA 01-29-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Just okay."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    It is basically Bill Bryson's latest formula book. A fair amount of interesting stuff but no plot or any real coherent theme. A fair amount of information on word origins but really just another book of Bryson's somewhat humorous thoughts. Not nearly as good as his older books. The reader is not as good as Bryson as he does not seem to grasp the intended humor of what he is reading.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bec Canberra, Australia 12-04-11
    Bec Canberra, Australia 12-04-11
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    "What an unexpected pleasure!"
    What did you love best about Made in America?

    Having listened to Bill Bryson read his own works before, I was initially disappointed by the reading of William Roberts. However, further into the book, his impressions and characterised quotations brought the book to life and had me laughing out loud to the story! By the end, I wondered what I had ever been upset about and adored Roberts rendition. His accent and liveliness brought much needed drama to this very informally written, yet of a formal nature, text.

    An avid language curiositist, I often ask,


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Bryanston, South Africa 10-29-12
    Donna Bryanston, South Africa 10-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Enjoyed the information!"
    What made the experience of listening to Made in America the most enjoyable?

    Such interesting history behind how words come into existence. The book has so much information and research behind it.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Auckland, New Zealand 05-24-11
    Lisa Auckland, New Zealand 05-24-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Brilliant as always"

    Absorbing, entertaining and funny as Bill always is. No one else can pass on such interesting and detailed research as Bill does, while making you laugh the whole way. Highly recommended.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book fan Seattle, WA 06-17-14
    Book fan Seattle, WA 06-17-14 Member Since 2005

    book fan

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    "Where oh where is Bill?"
    Would you try another book from Bill Bryson and/or William Roberts?

    I love (almost) everything Bill Bryson writes, especially A Brief History of Nearly Everything. More recently, Shakespeare was good but not great. I am now only through the FIRST chapter (of six) in this book, Made in America, and it is horrible. At least half of this chapter is a repeat of Bryson's etymology lessons in Shakespeare, and the rest is like someone literally reading from a dictionary.


    What could Bill Bryson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This book is (so far) devoid of the meandering but amusing "yarns" of which Bryson typically makes good use. This book is bland, repetitive, shallow and lacks any coherent overarching story upon which to hang what feels like a Google look-up of a list of words.


    Would you be willing to try another one of William Roberts’s performances?

    Mr. Roberts tone was flat and uninteresting. It is neither pleasant, nor does it convey any emotion as to better inform the reader when something of excitement is going on. Admittedly in this book there seems to have been no such excitement, but I expected more. I miss Bill Bryson's voice narrating, and Mr. Roberts was notably bland.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I would be thrilled to learn my purchase bought Mr. Bryson a drink or fine meal. Given how poor this book has been, he owes me one.


    Any additional comments?

    Come back to us Bill Bryson. We miss you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard United States 04-29-14
    Richard United States 04-29-14 Member Since 2006
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    "so many mispronunciations"
    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson ALWAYS tells a fascinating story but the reader, William Roberts, should have had some guidance how to pronounce MANY place names. It became increasingly irritating. Too bad Bryson did not read it himself. He's a fine reader/

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 11-18-13
    Tim United States 11-18-13 Member Since 2010

    Not a mainstream reader.

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    "Corky Information on America"

    "Made in America" is a bit misleading. While I enjoy Bill Bryson and his style of presenting information that I would never thought about, like crime against nature and Comstock laws, I was looking for more products that are made in the States. Instead, the majority of the information is on the American language. I just wish that there was more about American inventions in the 19th century. I forgot that Bill Bryson almost always present corky information and facts, but this is why I enjoy his curiosity.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 12 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Sarah
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    9/25/13
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    "Top Marks to the Narrator"

    This was a tricky wee read for the narrator and he coped admirably. We are taken on a linguistic journey from the Mayflower to present day. The origins of American English had several roots, English, Scottish, Irish, Native American, Spanish and German; and far from being a boring language lesson, it was an informative wee listen!

    The history of inventions and the lying and cheating that went on to obtain copyrights was fascinating - especially the poor wee guy who was cheated by Singer on his sewing machine. You'll learn all about the later fads like Coke and McDonalds too, I'd recommend this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-11 of 11 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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