Review: One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson


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Published: 2014

“Now suddenly America was dominant in nearly every field- in popular culture, finance and banking, military might, invention and technology.” (562)

The year that Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs. Charles Lindbergh becomes the first man ever to complete a non-stop flight from New York to Paris. Television is created. Al Capone enjoyed his last year of eminence. Mississippi flooded like never before. Countless of absolutely amazing feats were accomplished or born out of the year 1927 for America, that would greatly alter the future for the whole world. Bill Bryson does an incredible job in creating a gripping, enjoyable and delightful read about a period that I personally knew very little about. His writing style is just impeccable and he knows exactly what to reveal and when.

As you may or may not know, besides my degree in English Literature, I also have a minor in History. It was this combination of literary genius, humour and historical fact was what attracted me to this read. I was a bit hesitant; primarily worried by the prospect of reading 600 pages of just facts with little connection. That hesitation disappeared immediately, as I noticed a clear narration of the book being established from the offset. He focuses a lot on aviation, a theme that comes up at every section of the book, but done in such a clever way as to help you understand the grand scheme of things happening in that year. The author does a wonderful job of bringing a variety of sides to every person discussed from the time period: the good, the bad and the ugly. This assures me that I can trust that I am getting multiple sides to one story, something every historian strives toward.

The book gives you a proper snapshot of the season in which America took a big step towards a more modern world. It’s truly a captivating read filled with biographies, lots of humour, and absolutely shocking details about the way of life, while still maintaining integrity. There is a full bibliography spanning many pages that allows you to get more information on the subjects he has discussed and an index at the end, useful for refreshing your memory of anything you may have missed/forgotten.

Vedict: I honestly could not put this book down, no matter how hard I have tried. It made me realize just how far not only America, but also the world has come. His writing style is engaging, and easy to follow making it a great book to read over the summer and fitting for just about any reader that is even remotely interested in history and people in general.

Are there any narrative non-fiction works that you have enjoyed particularly? I want to know 🙂


6 thoughts on “Review: One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson

  1. I LOVE Bryson! I’m in the middle of reading this one aloud to my partner (she puts up with me reading aloud to her on road trips) and am just so impressed that Bryson can make me curious and fascinated by baseball and aviation and all sorts of things that I could normally care less about. Are any of his books bad?
    I love West With the Night by Beryl Markham as narrative non-fiction and just picked Below the Convergence by Alan Gurney and it looks really good. -Tania

    • I completely agree, I feel curious and interested in things that I would have never bothered with! I have not read his other books but I am tempted to now. It’s actually pretty funny because he used to be the president of my university and we have a library named after him 😀 Such a celebrity!

  2. I’ve been thinking about trying this book for a while – definitely going to give it a go after reading this! I also study History and English Literature so I think I’ll really enjoy it. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Teaser Tuesday: October 21 | friendlybookworm

  4. Pingback: Book Review: The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson | friendlybookworm

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