Feisty Harriet's Reviews > One Summer: America, 1927

One Summer by Bill Bryson
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bookshelves: book-club-selections, jazz-age-era

In 1927 prohibition was rampant (and widely ignored by most of society), The Jazz Singer, the first “talkie” came to movie theaters, and Henry Ford was dominating Detroit. This was the year of Charles Lindberg’s historic flight and a nationwide fervor surrounding aviation, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were racing for homerun record, Al Capone’s trial for income tax evasion, Dempsey and…somebody else’s boxing prize fight, President Calvin Coolidge retreated to a South Dakota and wandered around in chaps and an oversized cowboy hat while a crazed artist started sculpting Mt. Rushmore out of a mountain. All in all, it was a very busy year for everyone. There were so many interesting parts of this well-researched book and I learned a pile of things I doubt I’d never look up otherwise.

I read this for a new book club, one at my local library, and this book was up for discussion the first time I attended. I was, at least, 25 years younger than anyone else there, which suited me just fine. The librarian who led the discussion had pulled piles of documents, books, and newspaper articles from 1927 that touched on the same events as Bryson talked about in the book. That was, perhaps, my favorite part of the whole book.

I think Bryson’s writing falls into one of two categories: sarcastic/humorous travelogue, and beleaguered research tomes. I like Bryson, sometimes. In A Sunburned Country and A Walk in the Woods were both wonderful, and parts of this book were equally fascinating, but he could have used a ruthless editor and it would have been vastly improved if it were about 150 pages shorter.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2014 – Finished Reading
May 5, 2014 – Shelved
May 5, 2014 – Shelved as: book-club-selections
May 5, 2014 – Shelved as: jazz-age-era

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