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One Summer: America 1927 Hardcover – 26 Sep 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385608284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385608282
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. Settled in England for many years, he moved to America with his wife and four children for a few years ,but has since returned to live in the UK. His bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods and Down Under. His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of the decade in the UK.


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Product Description

Review

"Bill Bryson is a true master of popular narrative. Over the course of his career, he has bestowed a beautiful clarity on even the most recondite of subjects...Has history ever been so enjoyable?" (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)

"A fascinating snapshot of a season during which America, for better or worse, ushered in the modern world." (Sunday Times)

"A gifted raconteur...The book is filled with eccentric, flamboyant characters and memorable stories...highly amusing." (Guardian)

"A great new form of literature: biography of a few months in one country." (Matt Ridley The Times (Books of the Year))

"Few writers of nonfiction, and,let's be honest,few enough writers of novels, can crack the narrative whip like Bryson. One Summer fairly whirls along...full of exhilarating, fact-filled fun...surely the most sublime distraction published this year." (Observer)

Review

'A fascinating snapshot of a season during which America, for better or worse, ushered in the modern world.' (Sunday Times)

'Another winner ... witty and engrossing.' (The Irish Independent)

'Bryson offers delicious detail and breathtaking suspense about events whose outcomes are already known. A glorious look at one summer in America.' (Booklist)

'Few writers of nonfiction, and, let’s be honest, few enough writers of novels, can crack the narrative whip like Bryson. One Summer fairly whirls along ... full of exhilarating, fact-filled fun ... surely the most sublime distraction published this year.' (The Observer)

'...a gripping slice of history with all sorts of reverberant echoes of today ... Bryson, the travel writer turned non-fiction impresario, has now invented what may be an entirely new genre of non-fiction: the brief history of an era told through the biography of a summer. It is a book from which you can read many lessons or just revel in the writing.' (The Times) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
How on earth one person can create a book, albeit a very long book, out of such an extreme diversity of events, developments, people and plain downright pecularity, that is quite simply riveting and entertaining and somehow holds itself together? That person can only be Bill Bryson. No idea how he does it, but this is a book that is great fun to read, will contribute at least one fact to quite possibly every subject you can think of, and by the end of it, make you feel as if you have been at the centre of a whirlwind. As America must have felt at the end of the four months of summer in 1927 - whew.

A lot happened or came to fruition over that four months. Bill Bryson would seem to touch on all of them in some way - amongst others the beginnings of television, talking films, manipulation of the US finanical system, Ponzi schemes, Al Capone, boxing, devastating floods in the Mississippi, Henry Ford's new Model T car. But of total dominance, overshadowing everything that occurred during that period are the trans Atlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh and the magnetic power of Babe Ruth - baseball and planes. You will learn a lot about both, much of which you never really needed or wanted to know, but because it is written about in such an engaging and conversational manner, somehow the facts, and there are many of them, do stay with you.

However this compendium of often quite bizarre, fancy that, overall useless but intensely fascinating informaton is not so much about April to September 1927, but about the years that lead up to the various events that reach their zenith over that particular year. The book more becomes a history, mostly social and economic of America during the 12-13 years since the end of WWI .
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By John Ironmonger on 8 Nov 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Is there any kind of book that couldn't be improved a thousandfold by getting Bill Bryson to write it? Already my favourite-books-list includes 'Mother Tongue' a glorious history of the English language, 'A Short History of Everything,' which wraps up a thousand years of science and 'At Home' which is a cosy history of domesticity. And I've lost count of the number of times I've recommended Bryson's 'Shakespeare'. So that's linguistics, science, and literary biography to add to the canon of travel books that Bryson is best known for, and now here he is with an off the wall volume of American History that packs about half a million little-known facts about the American Summer of 1927 into five hundred pages and somehow ends up creating the most compelling book I've read since ... well probably since the last Bill Bryson book.

Bryson has stumbled upon a magical and pivotal summer in US history, and in his infectious, folksy style he takes us on a romp from May to September introducing a riotous cast of characters that you simply couldn't invent. Take the writer Zane Grey, for example, who earned a third of a million dollars from his books in 1927. Bryson reveals that Grey's hobbies included compiling detailed journals of his sexual exploits, and being photographed in the act. 'Edgar Rice Burroughs,' Bryson tells us, 'had a tamer life than Grey - but then, after all, who didn't?' It is this deliciously conversational style, a compote of statistics and gossip, that makes this book so compulsively readable. The summer is bookended by two events that gripped the consciousness of America - Lindbergh's crossing of the Atlantic, and Babe Ruth's record breaking season with a baseball bat.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ian ladd gibbon on 24 Feb 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderfully Bryson. Writes like a dream and rambles around, digs up obscure fascinating nuggets of information. Staggeringly elegantly written. That style is as important as the superb stories. If reading is a pleasure for the way words are used then this is a classic example. But it is important to read it slowly to make it last and or savour. I was fascinated to read the review of the ...person ... who gave it one star because they hadn't read it. Hilariously stupid. Read the other 5 star reviews and get a feel for this. One to comeback to in a year - there is too much here to absorb at a single sitting.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jack Chalmers on 5 Nov 2013
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As a long time fan of Bill Bryson who was beginning to think that his great days were past, this was a welcome return to something close to the form of old. A wonderful mixture of straight history and the grotesque. Though not laugh out loud, it was engaging and entertaining. Recommended.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Claretta VINE VOICE on 21 Nov 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everyone knows what an entertaining writer Bryson is, but if you read this expecting it to be side-splittingly funny I think you will be disappointed. While it is full of interesting nuggets it also sags badly at times. In particular, there is WAY too much about minor aviators who all start to sound the same. In fact, there is a bit too much of everything. Bryson clearly did a huge amount of research and you get the feeling he couldn't bear to leave anything out. So just as you are getting interested in Al Capone he veers off onto another tangent and you lose the thread. That's not to say there isn't some compelling stuff in the book, but overall I didn't think it lived up to his usual high standards of wit and entertainment.
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