• One Summer

  • America 1927
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 09-26-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (201 ratings)

Regular price: $24.51

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Publisher's Summary

Audible is proud to present One Summer: America, 1927, the new book by Britain’s favourite writer of narrative nonfiction, Bill Bryson.
Narrated by the man himself, One Summer takes you to the summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and changed the world forever. In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day, a semi-crazed sculptor with a plan to carve four giant heads into a 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.
It was the summer of the first talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone's reign of terror, the ill-conceived decision that led to the Great Depression, and the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of a wheezing, over-the-hill baseball player named Babe Ruth.
With an unforgettable cast of personalities, Bill Bryson spins a story of brawling adventure, reckless optimism, and delirious energy. What a country; what a summer; and what a writer to bring it all so vividly to life.
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951; he moved to and settled in England in 1977, working in journalism until becoming a full-time author. Bryson is much-loved for his best-selling travel books, from The Lost Continent to Down Under, and Notes from a Small Island earned a particularly special place in the nation's heart - a national poll for World Book Day voted it the book that best represents Britain. A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize. Bryson has also written a memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and acclaimed books on language and social history (Mother Tongue, Made in America, At Home).
He lives in the UK with his wife and family, and was awarded an honorary OBE for services to literature.
©2013 Bill Bryson (P)2013 Audible Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 05-10-14

Bill in usual greatness... but too much baseball!

Would you consider the audio edition of One Summer to be better than the print version?

Yes, Brysons dry narration is always a joy

Would you be willing to try another book from Bill Bryson? Why or why not?

I already own all of them

Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Exactly the same as usual - if you like Bryson this is a definite buy.. but if you dont then avoid it!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There are moments of history that are extremely saddening, and Bryson gives his perspective. However most of the book is humorous to laugh out loud.

It's collection of happenings and events that are loosely tied around one theme - the summer of 1927. It's like having him round for dinner and saying.. tell us a story or two Bill.

Any additional comments?

TOO MUCH BASEBALL! I know his Dad was a baseball reporter and Im sure its a fab sport but wayyy too much coverage in this book

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Joseph on 10-17-13

A remarkable year. Or was it?

The Summer of 1927 in America was a remarkable time. Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic alone in a tiny plane and set off a hero-worship frenzy. Not just in the USA but across the globe. Television was born and Radio exploded. As did bombs set off by anarchists across the country. Criminals were electrocuted and Prohibition made other criminals rich. Bill Bryson tells this story in his unique style; finding the coincidences the curiosities and the connections that bring it all together in a way that is fascinating and at times, laugh-out-loud funny.

It was a remarkable year. But then I think Bill Bryson could throw a dart at a calendar, hitting any season in any year in any country, and turn it into a compelling story.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Colin on 10-21-13

Bryson hits another Home Run

I've long been a fan of Bill Bryson's books and this latest release continues to raise the bar on his fellow writers. At once engaging and informative Bryson connects with the listener from the outset and the pace never flags. With characters such as Babe Ruth, Al Capone, Woodrow Wilson, Jack Dempsey and, of course, Charles Lindburgh the narrative guides the listener through what was a golden time in America's history.

The book looks at a wealth of topics from aviation, sport, politics, prohibition and the rise of the movies. I was particularly interested in the sections about the Anarchists who sent parcel bombs to leading political and authority figures. One failed to go off so the police thought it would be a good idea to take it back to the station for further investigation, where it promptly exploded, killing ten officers and some members of the public.

An excellent,informative book and like all of Bryson's work, worthy of repeated listenings. I almost wish I had a road trip coming up as this would be the perfect accompaniment

Highly recommended

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 07-07-14

A fancinating examination of one summer in America

What did you like most about One Summer?

Bryson's ability to turn up the most unusual facts and stories and combine them into a portrait of a nation. It gives a detailed snapshot of the landscape, the people their lives and the changes their society was undergoing. Bryso's research has allowed him to deflty draws them into a collection of threads that come together into a vivid sense of what America was in 1927.

What other book might you compare One Summer to, and why?

This is similar to Bryson's other non-fiction books - A Walk in the Woods and a Short History of Nearly Everything in that we are presented with Bryson's amiable wandering through a subject. However this isn't about him as such, it's a reflection of what he was interested in his subject.

What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

The clear animation in his voice - at times you could hear him smiling as he read or shaking his head in disbelief with you. Bryson enjoys a relaxed easy style that eats up the hours and is the perfect accompaniment to a long drive, cooking a meal or doing the washing up.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Could you film this? Better to imagine it I think - let it live in your mind's eye.

Any additional comments?

The only reason I deducted 1 star from the overall score was that in a very few places it probably paid to actually be an American (understanding baseball in detail and the odd reference). However do not let this put you off the wonderfully animated journey the book takes you on. I laughed out loud several times while listening - even when commuting on the train.

I recommend it wholeheartedly.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Cainsy on 05-17-15

A Summer more or less

Bryson is one of my writing heroes and he has delivered another masterwork in One Summer: America 1927. However, whereas his earlier travel books had the panorama of nations of his personal experience and his later books dealt with the realms of science, language and social history, this book is about the pivotal summer of 1927 in the United States.

Primarily focusing on the race between the various teams competing for the Orteig Prize, the challenge to fly non-stop from New York to Paris and in particular Charles Lindbergh’s accomplishment, and subsequent rise to fame when he won the prize. Bryson also focuses on Babe Ruth’s record baseball season, the machinations of the Ford motor company’s replacement of the Model T, the impact of the Mississippi Flood and the associated rise of Herbert Hoover, later President Hoover. The book also includes a fair dose of the intricacies of the Roaring Twenties as a backdrop.

The stories are told in Bryson’s characteristic humorous style full of the ironies of life and capricious turns of fate that beset so many of his subjects. It is also packed with many facts and statistics which while being fascinating can sometimes lapse into the monotony of a reference book. Occasionally he does drop the ball in the areas that aren’t central to his own interests, he seems to struggle with popular culture; incorrectly referring to Mickey Mouse’s previous name as Oswald for example. But that is nit-picking Bryson’s delivers a book in a way that a skilled sportsman makes his game look effortless.

Bill Bryson’s delivery is gentle and clear but, as he references his own voice in his earlier book; The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, he speaks in a low voice. Sometimes this lacks the range to add proper characterisation to the different people within the book. Again this isn’t a critical deficiency but doesn’t lend itself to extended listening sessions.
Overall this is an interesting and informative book.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By MR NICHOLAS J EVEN on 12-28-14

Really enjoyed America 1927

Thoroughly enjoyed the clarity, the content, and the subject matter. Especially enjoyed that the author narrated.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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