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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)2014 Audible, Inc.

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 (488 )
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3.9 (380 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bec Canberra, Australia 12-04-11
    Bec Canberra, Australia 12-04-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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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
  •  
    Mikel Ward Mountain View, California 05-23-15
    Mikel Ward Mountain View, California 05-23-15 Member Since 2014
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    1
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    "Taught me about American inventions and language"

    Lots of interesting facts about American language and inventions, assembled into a mostly chronological story. Not especially captivating, but well worth it for all the learnings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Estell Boerne, TX United States 05-14-15
    J. Estell Boerne, TX United States 05-14-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Only narrator that does it better than Bryson!"

    Excellent, engaging listen with a fantastic narrator. If you are interested in the American language or just a Bryson fan, well worth the price.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 03-30-15
    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 03-30-15 Member Since 2008

    pony rider

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much swearing for me"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Started out enjoyable, but then.... A letter written to Lincoln that uses the Lord's name in vain over and over. Then a whole chapter of inappropriate, swearing town names. Couldn't take any more. It's been in my library unread for too long, now I wish I'd listened sooner so I could return it. Do not recommend. There are more uplifting books out there.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not Bill Bryson any more.


    What about William Roberts’s performance did you like?

    He read very well! I was impressed with his pronunciation of French, Native American, and other non-English words. His pronunciation and accents for different time periods was also well done.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    At first, I was interested, then disgusted and offended by the choice of material.


    Any additional comments?

    With so much material why do writers feel that they must bring out all the filth?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael York, Panama 03-25-15
    Michael York, Panama 03-25-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Disappointed"

    Although the book has been written in true Bryson style, which supports the reason I downloaded it, the narrator misses the mark. Unfortunately, I had grown used to B.B. presenting his own material and in many ways the voice inflection and context were lost to, well, basic reading aloud. I will be more cautious to research the narrator in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paige Beichler Berea, KY 03-14-15
    Paige Beichler Berea, KY 03-14-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Not narrated by Bryson."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator. William Roberts may be a good narrator for something else, but Bryson's voice and intonation make his books.


    What didn’t you like about William Roberts’s performance?

    His voice.


    Did Made in America inspire you to do anything?

    It made me want to return the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Change your return policy back to being able to return any book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Kling Westchester, New York 03-10-15
    Stephen Kling Westchester, New York 03-10-15 Member Since 2015

    sdotkling

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    "Far ranging and fun"

    Listening to Bill Bryson is to take a trip to a side trip to a tangent. It seems like even he doesn't know where he's going, until he gets there, which he eventually does. This performance is better than Bryson himself, so points for that. The material, however, seems recycled in places from previous Bryson books. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because it's all delightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catmom Ireland 02-15-15
    Catmom Ireland 02-15-15 Member Since 2014

    Aiofe

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    "A LOT of mispronunciations."
    What other book might you compare Made in America to and why?

    I'm a Stranger Here Myself. Bill Bryson can make the most mundane facts interesting. His books are the best way to learn History and Geography painlessly.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The performance was ok, but it lacked Bryson's charm. Maybe it was a regional thing, but a lot of common English words were pronounced strangely. This is one of my pet peeves. If you are not sure how the word is pronounced, look it up.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Quite a few giggles.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Sam
    Newtown , Powys , United Kingdom
    3/22/09
    Overall
    "Fantastic!"

    As with all Bill Bryson, he does not just take you, in this case on an adventure of the formation of language in America, but brushes on the expansive history of America and the world, yet does not drift into irrelevancy. His ridiculously well written book gives you the history of 1,000's of words and cleverly places them into a relevant context.

    My *only* complaint is that when the reader, (who reads fantastically) spells words out, I find it rather hard to keep up, the book obviously being primarily written for print. However this is infrequent and I suggest that this is based on my own faults, and should not stop you from buying this fantastic book.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    StockportUnited Kingdom
    5/12/10
    Overall
    "A history of America through its language"

    As a native Brit I wondered how interesting a book about American English would be to me. I was also rather concerned about the scope of this book - how on Earth could Bill Bryson fill such a long time with what seemed like such a limited topic?

    My concerns on both counts were unfounded. It turns out that most of the Americanisms that Bill Bryson covers in his book are so embedded in British English now that we don't even think of them as Americanisms any more. Interestingly it also works in reverse - many things we think of as Americanisms actually started out in Britain!

    On the second count, Bill Bryson does far more than just list words that are Americanisms and research their origins. He puts them in their cultural context, and indeed in some ways this book is more of a history of America told through the development of its language. Indeed, at some points the link between the topic being covered and the development of American English is distant to say the least.

    Despite its considerable length, this book kept my interest throughout. The only issue I can really highlight is that it does get a bit confusing sometimes when words are being spelt out, but this happens only occasionally and is not a serious issue. Apart from this, the narration is brilliant and adds to what is already an excellent book.

    All in all, a highly recommended book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsay Kay Caddy
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    7/18/11
    Overall
    "One of the poorer Bryson books"

    I enjoyed this book but it was very annoying in places with constant lists of words but even more tedious was listening to lists of individual words being spelt out. The facts in the book were vaguely interesting but not so interesting that you would bother relaying the fact to anyone else or bringing it up in conversation. Overall a bland book, wellr esearched but not a page turner.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Boston, United Kingdom
    5/30/11
    Overall
    "FAN-tastic"

    Anyone who loves language and fancies themselves an arm-chair historian will absolutely love this book. Wonderfully read by William Roberts. Download it NOW!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Adrian
    Norwich, United Kingdom
    4/10/13
    Overall
    "First Rate"

    Bill Bryson is a first-rate story teller, bringing history to life with rich insights and perspective. Also, it should be noted that William Roberts's narration is so good that you don't notice it's there and I say that as the highest compliment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    6/3/11
    Overall
    "No more questions left."

    As with all Bill Bryson's books I find myself waiting on tender hooks for the next mind blowing lesson. I'm sure everyone out there in listensville will learn more in a chapter about the way our cousins across the pond live and think than if you watched any ANY TV from the past 50 years. I am i awe of this great author. Especially when Bill still considers 50 cents a good tip.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    st albans, herts, United Kingdom
    9/28/10
    Overall
    "A mind numbing snorefest"

    After 3 hours of listening to the admirable narrator pronouncing a series of words and then pronouncing them slightly differently I gave up on the promises made by other reviewers of fascinating history of the US and put this one down to experience. If its a broad survey of US history you are after then try the Empire of Liberty series. However, if its 20 hours of how the early pilgrims pronounced bound as band and other such fascinating pieces of information then this is the one for you.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    3/27/10
    Overall
    "Made in America"

    Very interesting and well read.
    Goes off subject and gets a bit duller towards the end

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Marcus
    3/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "amazing funny and factual"

    Bill Bryson mixes facts and humour to keep a long book entertaining.... Narrator William Roberts has a easy voice to listen to over and over

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Will
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    3/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic book"

    Brilliant book, entertaining, informative and interesting. Bill Bryson writes with humour and wit on what could easily be a dry subject. He is at once proud of the heritage of the American language and makes no excuses or apologies for where it has turned from British English but at the same time isn't afraid to cast a knowing eye or witty aside when called for. I have read and re-read this book over 20 times & listen to the audio almost as much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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