One Summer

One Summer

America, 1927

Downloadable Audiobook - 2013
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A Chicago Tribune Noteworthy Book
A GoodReads Reader's Choice

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.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; 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.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, [2013]
ISBN: 9780804127363
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
Alternative Title: America, 1927

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ArapahoeLesley Nov 23, 2016

Bill Bryson is awesome.

Jun 04, 2015

Good, but not my favorite (At Home) with his facts for the unusual. He narrates with his great sense of humor, very dry.

The wonderful Bill Bryson does it again! Everything from the ’27 Yankees, to Charles Lindberg’s historic flight to Chicago gangster Al Capone, all rolled into one engaging story about the life and times of 1927. Bryson always manages to detail little known facts with humor and wit. Read by the author.

Jul 26, 2014

Awesome! (May or June 2014).....Aug 2014, took this out again, so that I could listen to it with my sister at the cabin. She enjoyed knitting to it, as the radio was getting just a little bit repititious.

JCLLauraH May 22, 2014

Bryson does an amazing job connecting events and people in history and giving them context and meaning. With the summer of 1927 as the hub of the story, he creates a comprehensive history of America in the early 20th century. Bryson weaves together stories of Charles Lindburgh's first flight across the Atlantic, Herbert Hoover's relief efforts after the flooding in Louisiana, Babe Ruth's ascent into baseball greatness, Henry Ford's Model T, the creation of Mount Rushmore, the invention of radio, "talkies," and television, the failures of prohibition, Al Capone's reign in Chicago, and other newsworthy men, women, and events of the decade. It's a lot to digest, but well worth it.

May 16, 2014

Bill Bryson is an outstanding author of intimate histories and travelogues. Weaves different stories together in a very interesting and dynamic fashion. One Summer has a lot of stories that we all know, but Bryson brings out the details around those stories.

Apr 14, 2014

This is a very interesting slice of American History. Bill Bryson has a droll sense of humor in relating some of the characters and incidents - keeping the reading from becoming laborious. Although this is nominally about the summer of 1927, Bill Bryson provides fascinating background details leading up to the summer of 1927. The main topics include Aviation (Lindbergh, etc.), Politics (Hoover & Coolidge, etc.), Prohibition (Al Capone, Wayne Wheeler), Baseball (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, etc.), Boxing (Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey), Entertainment (Silent movie star Clara Bow), and Finance (Benjamin Strong). While there is no unifying theme Bill Bryson does pull together a portrait of a country and world at several inflection points. Finally, the book provides and epilogue of the main characters that populate the book.

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