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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

4.0 (322 )
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3.9 (248 )
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Performance
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  •  
    wiploc Manhattan, KS USA 08-10-14
    wiploc Manhattan, KS USA 08-10-14 Member Since 2007

    charlieclack

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    "Facinating if you like either words or history."
    What did you like best about this story?

    Tons of completely new information.


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

    It's a dictionary, or a series of short episodes of history explaining where words came from. It would not lend itself to a film adaptation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 08-10-14
    Nancy 08-10-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Love Bryson, Roberts-not so much!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, it's a great story, but the narrator just doesn't have the right tone for a Bryson book. He sounds negative, sarcastic & whiney


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narrator doesn't have the right tone for a Bryson book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 08-07-14
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 08-07-14 Member Since 2002
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    "just not the same when Billy doesn't narrate"

    Chock full of the most amusing trivia about America. Sadly, after getting used to Bryson as narrator, change is tough.
    Not a knock on Will Roberts, who is a great narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 08-02-14
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 08-02-14 Member Since 2003
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    "Bill Bryson's evil twin wrote this book"

    I'm so glad I didn't stumble on this book as my first Bryson. What a nasty, arrogant, bigoted, nasty (did I already say nasty?), smarmy man wrote this book. If this had been my first Bryson book I would never have bought another.

    Bryson, originally from Iowa, came back to America after two decades living in England and decides to drive around. Everything he sees, and everywhere he goes disappoints him. Food is greasy, gooey blobs that squirt all over him. Towns are drab, dreary, or filled with tourist attractions that are overpriced and not at all good.

    Bryson tells us about his father and mother driving him and his siblings around when they were young. Bryson's father is a dolt going to the worst of the worst state parks and attractions along their trips. Bryson even manages to make his mother, a saintly woman who never criticizes Bill, into a stupid woman and a doormat. If I were Bryson's family and read this book, I would have told Bill to never get within 500 miles of the family and to change his name so no one would know they are related.

    Don't like the tone of this review? That's because I just finished the audio book and I've got his nasty attitude ringing in my ears.

    Unlike most of the Bryson books I've read, where Bill is the narrator, this book is narrated by William Roberts. Roberts sounds like a cross between a carney huckster and a school yard bully. I kept thinking that most of the nastiness would have been ameliorated had Bryson been the narrator. ... But I doubt it. Williams does nothing to make the book less nasty. But I suspect he was reflecting the nasty attitude in the book.

    Read any other Bryson book written after 2000. Bill's a much nicer man then.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maude el paso, TX, United States 07-14-14
    Maude el paso, TX, United States 07-14-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Pretty much a rehash of material"

    Not one of Bryson's best. One Summer is much better and covers a lot of the same material.

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

    I use my left foot to type my reviews.

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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
  •  
    HBT Thyborøn, Denmark 10-29-13
    HBT Thyborøn, Denmark 10-29-13 Member Since 2013
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    "William Roberts and Bill Bryson are superb!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Made in America to be better than the print version?

    Yes, William Robert's voice nuances perfectly supplement Bryson's subtly wit.


    What did you like best about this story?

    William Robert's narrative voice.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Chapter 13 - William Roberts renditions of women's voices!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oh yes!


    Any additional comments?

    My next download will be a Bryson/Roberts combination.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Audubon, NJ, United States 11-27-13
    James Audubon, NJ, United States 11-27-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Another great Bill Bryson book."
    Would you try another book from Bill Bryson and/or William Roberts?

    I have 5 audio books from Bill Bryson. He is one of my favorite authors.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The strong suite of this book is not really characters, though there are some great characters. The strong suite here is all the anecdotes illustrating Mr. Bryson's historical overview.


    What three words best describe William Roberts’s voice?

    He did fine.


    Could you see Made in America being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Maybe a TV show, each chapter could be an episode. Ideally, Mr. Bryson should host.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-18 of 18 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Steve
    SE England
    2/10/14
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    "M.a.d.e i.n A.m.e.r.i.c.a"
    What did you like most about Made in America?

    I tend to have several books on the go at once - fiction alongside non-fiction. So this was useful as I could dip into the book and pause between passages.
    This is a surprisingly easy listen given the subject matter of 'words' and phrases made in America. Interesting and informative - but obviously not useful as a quick reference - so treat it accordingly.
    However - whilst I do not like 'abridged' version of books - there is something to recommend 'adapted' for audio - there are occasional passages where the book and audio consists of seemingly endless lists - which work well on paper but not on audio - especially when they are also spelled out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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: 11-12 of 12 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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