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One Summer: America, 1927

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One Summer: America, 1927 Cover

ISBN13: 9780767919401
ISBN10: 0767919408
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

Trust Bill Bryson to make the summer of 1927 as immediate and thrilling to the reader as it was to the Americans who lived through it. Written with Bryson's characteristic combination of wit, irony, and genuine fondness for his subject matter, One Summer is a joyful read by a master of narrative nonfiction.
Recommended by Rhianna W., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In One Summer Bill Bryson, one of our greatest and most beloved nonfiction writers, transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life.

The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days — a new record.

The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. The four most powerful central bankers on earth met in secret session on a Long Island estate and made a fateful decision that virtually guaranteed a future crash and depression.

All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for telling detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order.

Review:

"'People in 1920s America were unusually drawn to spectacle,' states Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything) in his prologue — an unusual claim that his latest, a sprawling account of a brief period in a singular year in that decade, seems to want to substantiate. Whether or not the claim is objectively true, Bryson himself is captivated by the events of summer, 1927. And why not? They included Charles Lindbergh's solo flight over the Atlantic, Sacco and Vanzetti's execution, Gutzon Borglum's start on the sculpting of Mt. Rushmore, the Dempsey-Carpentier fight, and Babe Ruth's 60 home runs — all of which Bryson covers in characteristically sparkling prose. These notable happenings are worth relating and recalling, but others have done so, and more authoritatively and fully. Here, there's not much connection between them; a string of coincidences (and there are many of those each day) hardly justify a book. So this isn't history, nor is it really a story with a start, finish, and thematic spine. No analysis, only narrative — it's diverting but slight." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"A glorious look at one summer in America...Bryson offers delicious detail and breathtaking suspense about events whose outcomes are already known." Booklist, Starred Review

Review:

"The book's strength is in showing the overlap of significant events and the interaction of personalities." Library Journal

Review:

"Bryson is a marvelous historian, not only exhaustively accurate, but highly entertaining. If you avoid textbook histories because they seem too dry, pick up One Summer, or any other of Mr. Bryson's books. They are intelligent delights." Liz Smith, The Huffington Post

Synopsis:

One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country — a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive for us on the page in this certain bestseller.

About the Author

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 Thunderbolt Kid, and At Home. He lives in England with his wife.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Colorado Jess, October 24, 2013 (view all comments by Colorado Jess)
Bill Bryson will be no stranger for many. His cleverness, insightfulness, and humor are on full display in this new non-fiction book. This delightful romp will educate and amuse anyone remotely intrigued with America in the years surrounding 1927. And, yes, fascinate those of us that didn't know we were interested in what went on then, as well!
He brings subjects to light and to life that would not ordinarily be of interest. For instance, I am not a boxing fan, yet he drew me into the life of Jack Dempsey and his ilk. There is something for everybody and I have even recommended it to people who were not born here but have made America their home. I wish my history classes had been this interesting!
Enjoy!
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
rj_haigh, October 19, 2013 (view all comments by rj_haigh)
Who knew that the summer of 1927 was so fascinating? The woven stories of Babe Ruth, prohibition, flooding, bombings,delicious scandals and Charles Lindberg make history into a fun interesting read. The author's writing style and sense of humor make this a book not to be missed!
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780767919401
Subtitle:
America, 1927
Author:
Bryson, Bill
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Sociology - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20131001
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.3 x 1.4 in 1.94 lb

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One Summer: America, 1927 Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.95 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Doubleday - English 9780767919401 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Trust Bill Bryson to make the summer of 1927 as immediate and thrilling to the reader as it was to the Americans who lived through it. Written with Bryson's characteristic combination of wit, irony, and genuine fondness for his subject matter, One Summer is a joyful read by a master of narrative nonfiction.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'People in 1920s America were unusually drawn to spectacle,' states Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything) in his prologue — an unusual claim that his latest, a sprawling account of a brief period in a singular year in that decade, seems to want to substantiate. Whether or not the claim is objectively true, Bryson himself is captivated by the events of summer, 1927. And why not? They included Charles Lindbergh's solo flight over the Atlantic, Sacco and Vanzetti's execution, Gutzon Borglum's start on the sculpting of Mt. Rushmore, the Dempsey-Carpentier fight, and Babe Ruth's 60 home runs — all of which Bryson covers in characteristically sparkling prose. These notable happenings are worth relating and recalling, but others have done so, and more authoritatively and fully. Here, there's not much connection between them; a string of coincidences (and there are many of those each day) hardly justify a book. So this isn't history, nor is it really a story with a start, finish, and thematic spine. No analysis, only narrative — it's diverting but slight." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A glorious look at one summer in America...Bryson offers delicious detail and breathtaking suspense about events whose outcomes are already known."
"Review" by , "The book's strength is in showing the overlap of significant events and the interaction of personalities."
"Review" by , "Bryson is a marvelous historian, not only exhaustively accurate, but highly entertaining. If you avoid textbook histories because they seem too dry, pick up One Summer, or any other of Mr. Bryson's books. They are intelligent delights."
"Synopsis" by , One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country — a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive for us on the page in this certain bestseller.
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