Saturday, February 8, 2014
One Summer: America, 1927
In his "A Short History of Nearly Everything", Bryson offers what I heard others refer to as a "compendium of science for adults." It was a pretty exhaustive alternative to a textbook that I found educational, interesting and presented in a style that after reading many of his other writings, can only be attributed to him - which turned out to be what made it so wonderful.
When I heard that Bryson wrote a book about America in the 1920's, I was immediately drawn to the idea of reading it partly because I have had a fascination with that period in American history since taking a class called "The Jazz Age" in high school (props to my teacher at the time, Mr. Slow) and partly because I am a Bill Bryson fan and hadn't read him in a few years.
There is a lot of ground covered in this book as it focuses on the summer of 1927 but of course covers the surrounding years as they relate to the stories and people he speaks of.
This book was filled with a lot of interesting stuff and there were some wonderful moments of Bryson being Bryson, but it was long, the type face was smaller than I would have liked and as much as It pains me to say it, was just not as captivating overall as the other books I have read by him.
Among the covered are Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Al Capone, Al Jolson, the advent of Television and Film, the beginning of the stock market crash and more. It's not always an easy read but I don't regret reading it and would even encourage it if any of these subjects or the time period in general are of any interest to you.