Never Met a Bryson Book I Didn’t Like

BrysonbookBill Bryson has an amazing talent for taking the mundane facts of history and weaving them into a funny, thrilling, fascinating and readable work on non-fiction.  His topics have ranged from travel adventures such as his exploration of the Appalachian Trail and the Australian outback,  or the examination of social history from his own childhood memories to the history of his house.  Bryson’s recent work, One Summer America 1927 takes the reader on a chronological trip through the summer of 1927 in America, carried along by a host of events and characters from the era including sports legends, political figures, “heroes” and criminals.  The structure of the work starts with the contest to over-fly the Atlantic ocean from New York to Paris in early May and ends with a fall from grace for America’s hero, Lindbergh, in late September.  Interwoven in this adventure are all the other stars who appeared on the public stage during the summer of this particular year: Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Al Capone, Henry Ford, Calvin Coolidge, Sacco and Venzetti, and many others.  These people defined an era and helped form and characterize a nation before the Great Depression.  What I found particularly compelling were the similarities between the mindset of the late 1920’s and today.  Although this book would not be listed as one of Bryson’s best in my opinion, it was an interesting and very worthwhile read.  I was appalled and disappointed to learn, however, that most of these larger-than-life sports and other historical figures were truly reprehensible people in many regards.  Why, you ask?  You’ll have to read the book.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Never Met a Bryson Book I Didn’t Like

  1. Barb

    Yes, I agree about some of these “heroes” being reprehensible. My dad, who is now 91 was 4 and my mom (88) was a year old back in 1927. Very interesting and at times surprising to read what America was like, I love the way Bryson writes and found myself chuckling a few times. He keeps you interested, that’s for sure. If you like history, definitely a book worth reading.

  2. I really liked this book and my review of the book came to many of the same conclusions as you. He really manages to pick out of history what’s interesting!

  3. Chris Sullivan

    Sorry but have to say that Bryson annoyed me with his facetious and insulting remarks about the Scots in his book about Britain, who’s title I can’t remember. I know it’s a rather small matter to dislike a writer but I just couldn’t get over what he wrote.

  4. Yikes, Chris, don’t believe I’ve ever read that one!

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