Sunday, January 11, 2015

One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library. It took me 42 days spanning two seasons to get through this book. Not that it wasn't interesting—the material was fascinating—but maybe the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year season wasn't the best time to tackle it, as I had other things on my mind. What made the summer of 1927 one hell of a summer?
Babe Ruth hit sixty home runs. The Federal Reserve made the mistake that precipitated the stock market crash. Al Capone enjoyed his last summer of eminence. The Jazz Singer was filmed. Television was created. Radio came of age. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. President Coolidge chose not to run. Work began on Mount Rushmore. The Mississippi flooded as it never had before. A madman in Michigan blew up a school and killed forty-four people in the worst slaughter of children in American history. Henry Ford stopped making the Model T and promised to stop insulting Jews. And a kid from Minnesota flew across an ocean and captivated the planet in a way it had never been captivated before.
Even though the title of the book would lead you to believe you would only be reading about the events of the summer of 1927, Bill Bryson did a good job of giving you all the background you didn't know you needed to know in order to understand just what made this summer so unique. Disappointingly, there was little evidence of his trademark snark, which only came through the cracks in his narrative. Still, I learned a lot about this one summer in America, primarily that things haven't changed as much as we'd like to think they have.

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