One Summer: America, 1927

Hardcover | October 1, 2013

byBill Bryson

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In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day (and slept much of the rest of the time), a semi-crazed sculptor with a mad plan to carve four giant heads into an inaccessible mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown and finished it as the most famous man on earth (so famous that Minnesota consider renaming itself after him).

It was the summer that saw the birth of talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone’s reign of terror, the horrifying bombing of a school in Michigan by a madman, the ill-conceived decision that led the Great Depression, the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of a wheezing, over-the-hill baseball player named Babe Ruth and an almost impossible amount more.

In this hugely entertaining book, Bill Bryson spins a story of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy. With the trademark brio, wit and authority that have made him our favorite writer of narrative non-fiction, he rolls out an unforgettable cast of vivid and eccentric personalities to bring to life a forgotten summer when America came of age, took centre stage and changed the world forever.

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In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day (and slept much of the rest of the time), a semi-crazed sculptor with a mad plan to carve four giant heads into an inaccessible mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial and a youthf...

BILL BRYSON's bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburned Country, A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize), The Life and Times of the ThunderboltKid, and At Home. He lives in England with his wife and children. The author lives in Norfolk, England.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:528 pages, 9.52 × 6.39 × 1.44 inPublished:October 1, 2013Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385661657

ISBN - 13:9780385661652

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Customer Reviews of One Summer: America, 1927

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from you're there! Bill Bryson is such a terrific travel writer and in this he takes you right back there to 1927 America when TV got its start, the New York Yankees of the Babe Ruth era had arguably the best single season ever in MLB history and how Henry Ford went nuts and truly started to lose it. Yes, this year had particular significance as just two years later the Great Depression began. So enjoy America at its wackiness and one of its most fun years.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One Summer:America ,1927 Great read. Good way to learn some history. Doesn't bog down the way a lot of history reads do. I've read it twice.
Date published: 2015-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read. Bryson does an admirable job documenting a specific time in history, and showing us a moment in  the lives of the most influential people of the day.
Date published: 2014-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprisingly fascinating Bill Bryson is the master of making a potentially dry topic utterly compelling. The 1920's, as it turns out, was a crazy, astonishing, wild, corrupt, shocking. Bryson brings out the best of this era and reminds us that some things have changed immensely, and others, not at all. I highly recommend this book. I'm still shaking my head at what I didn't know about Henry Ford and Babe Ruth.
Date published: 2014-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Nonfiction Book for 2013 A few reviews have said Bryson is too jocular. I'd say he's refreshingly vigorous, unpretentious and unportentous. Fascinating for anyone interested in sports (Babe Ruth to Jack Dempsey), politics (Coolidge and Hoover), crime (Capone, Sacco and Vanzetti), aviation (Lindbergh), business (Henry Ford and the speculators who quietly caused the 1929 crash), popular culture (movies, flagpole sitting, Prohibition, tv, Mount Rushmore) and much more. I was especially intrigued to see how different 1927 was from today, but also how similar, with the beginnings of celebrity culture in the mass media. I was shocked to learn of Lindbergh's dabblings with the racist theories of Eugenics, Henry Ford's anti-Semitism, and the great Mississippi Flood that year which outdid anything we've had since. Best of all, Bryson is incapable of being dull.
Date published: 2014-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bryson Gets Better! Bryson is one of the best writers out there able to entertain and educate on a wide array of subjects that may appear unrelated at first.  His latest offering is a fascinating trip down memory lane to 1927 when America changed following the Charles Lindbergh flight across the Atlantic.  That summer, radio, television, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey etc...entered our collective conscience.  Despite its size, the book reads so well that I finished it during my Christmas holidays.  Read everything by Bill Bryson, he is a writer for the ages. 
Date published: 2013-12-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not his best I have read all of Bill Bryson's other books, and have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed them all.  One Summer, although full of facts (some interesting, others not) about 1927, felt like a long, dull car ride where one keeps asking "when are we going to get there?"  This is the first Bill Bryson book that did not keep me wanting to read, and I put it down after the third tedious chapter.
Date published: 2013-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent The summer of 1927 was amazingly rife with historic and newsworthy events.  Mr. Bryson manages to bring these events together in this factual, well-researched and entertaining narrative.  Most of the events he brings forth in the book are events of which I was well aware, but never put together the short time span in which they all took place.  The summer of 1927 saw Charles Lindbergh make the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight; Alvin Kelly broke the flagpole-sitting record when he sat up high in New Jersey for 12 days; the Mississippi basin flooded with torrential rains; secret bank meetings pretty much ensured a depression, and Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run.  From Al Capone to Al Jolson and from prohibition to eugenics, Mr. Bryson doesn’t miss a thing. This is the first of Mr. Bryson’s books that I have read and let me tell you, it will definitely not be last.  He brings these events together in a smooth narrative that is entertaining and informative.  Read by Mr. Bryson himself, I picked up the audio version of this book.  Not only does Mr. Bryson write a marvelous glimpse into One Summer of history but narrates it superbly. The only question I was left with at the end of this book … how is it that Mr. Bryson was seemingly the first to pick up on the significance of the summer in 1927?  Or, can one arbitrarily pick a year and a season and find that equally interesting and significant things took place?  
Date published: 2013-11-15

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Editorial Reviews

“Bryson gets right to it, dancing the Charleston with his crisp, evocative prose through portraits and anecdotes of characters big and small. . . . At its best, the prose fizzes like just-poured champagne.”—The Globe and Mail“Bryson is a master of the sidelong, a man who can turn obscurity into hilarity with seemingly effortless charm – and One Summer: America 1927 is an entertaining addition to a body of work that is at its best when it celebrates the unexpected and the obscure. . . . This is a jolly jalopy ride of a book; Bryson runs down the byways of American history and finds diversion in every roadside stop.”—Financial Times  “This splendid book, written in the breezy and humorous style that has come to be Bryson's trademark, is sure to delight readers steeped in the history of the period as well as those looking to acquaint themselves with it for the first time.”—Huffington Post  “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, such as science or linguistics. With this book, he proves once again that he is able to juggle any number of different balls – the boxing career of Jack Dempsey, the origins of the Wall Street Crash, the history of the Ku Klux Klan – and create spellbinding patterns while never letting a single one drop.”—Daily Mail (UK)“One Summer is a delightful entertainment that gives the reader a good grounding in the nature and significance of the 1920s in America.”—Winnipeg Free Press  “Bryson’s book is a quirkily entertaining pop history of the single year, 1927, when the United States underwent a massive cultural revolution and shook off — for good and ill — any lingering sense of being second best. Bryson is simply caught up in his own enthusiasm for a period in which American was just beginning to produce its most powerful, most impressive, and often most dangerous invention: optimism.”—Toronto Star   “One Summer is bursting with facts, whether amusing, disquieting, or downright weird. All are woven deftly into Bryson’s story of a few months when the 1920s truly roared.”—National Post  “Just to think of this book is to think of it as a sure-fire winning combination. What couldn’t so gifted a storyteller and effortless a stylist as Bryson do with the material on offer. . . . detail-rich, thoroughly entrancing.”—Maclean’s  “A popular chronicler of life and lore vividly charts a particularly pivotal season in American history. . . . Bryson’s American pride saturates this rewarding book. A distinctively drawn time capsule from a definitive epoch.” —Kirkus Reviews"Bryson is at his best, combining his talents for thorough research, skillful narrative structure and witty humor. . . . Readers who enjoy creative nonfiction, from writers such as Erik Larson, may find Bryson’s witty prose a welcome addition to their summer reading." —Tribune Star