Monday, January 12, 2015

One Summer, America, 1927 - Bill Bryson

Bryson is ordinarily a writer of travel literature - and a sterling one, at that - yet he occasionally also goes historian on us. 
Here, his sense of witty phrasing renders this opus considerably more intelligible than most historians. At the same time, his incapacity to purge his text from taxing details makes for 600 fairly dense pages.

An original take on history, though! Especially as the summer of 1927 in America allows him to go into, among many others, Charles Lindbergh's Atlantic crossing, baseball legend Babe Ruth, executed anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti (according to Bryson perhaps "not quite so innocent as history has wished to make them"), the first talking films, flagpole-sitting, flappers, eugenism and the first Red Scare.

Finally, a quote to explain the importance of the summer of 1927 in Bryson's own words : "Americans in the 1920s had grown up in a world in which most of the most important things happened in Europe. Now suddenly America was dominant in nearly every field..."


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