Fun listen. Big on Babe Ruth and Charles Lindbergh.
Another terrific book by Bill Bryson. I had no idea so many memorable events and people made history in 1927. Includes Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, the dawn of talking movies, carving Mt. Rushmore and the greatest baseball team of all time - the 1927 New York Yankees with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. And many more. Very entertaining and well researched. I also really enjoyed listening to the audio CD version.
This is, for the most part, a witty, amusing read, as most books of Bryson's are -- he has a gift for spotting (and lampooning) the most absurd bits of historical trivia, as those familiar with his travel books know quite well. And this was an interesting topic for a book -- 1927 was, indeed, a rather remarkable summer, given that it included, among many other things, Babe Ruth's home run record, Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic, and the filming of "The Jazz Singer". However, I think the overall feel was a bit too anecdotal. There needed to be a stronger thesis tying all of these events together to really make this book feel like it had something to say other than, "Look at these things that happened one year." You'll enjoy reading it nonetheless -- but you'll come away feeling ever-so-slightly dissatisfied.
Unlike most of Bryson's other books, this is a heavy historical doorstop. It took me ages to get through it; it's well-written and thorough, but not really what I was thinking of when I picked it up. Fault of mine? Maybe a fault on both sides, really, since that doesn't change the fact that although the book is /interesting/, it's still a lot of work to read. I had to set aside two weeks and renew everything else I had out.
A romp theough only one summer in the history of the U.S., but written in a humorous way that makes me want to know a LOT more about American history. A great read!
Amazing that one year could have as many historic events as 1927 - Charles Lindberg crosses the Atlantic and becomes an international hero; Al Capone becomes the legend that he is; Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney have the still controversial fight of the century; Henry Ford becomes rich and famous with his Model T, then completely flops with his Model A, which allows GM to take over as industry leader; the Mount Rushmore carvings begin.
Bryson manages to skillfully weave all these stories and many more in a fascinating and entertaining account of 1927. He does jump around a lot but manages to do so quite skillfully. Overall an enjoyable book!!
Disappointing - a very selective history, exaggerated in some instances to buttress his point that he believes the summer of 1927 to be singular in its remarkable events. Offers no citations to read more about the points the author makes. Slightly 'snarky' humor about many historical figures.
Interesting book. Effective narrative that uses the focus on a single year, that cumulatively characterizes the 1920s.
At first thoroughly entertaining and engaging, but soon becomes something of a slog as Bryson's narrative throughline unravels and the book becomes a jumbled collection of anecdotes and profiles. Bryson's writing style is as charming as ever but it can't support the exhausting add-a-pearl style of the book's second half, which peters out and ends, unceremoniously, with a series of what are essentially obituaries for the people featured that, at best, underlines the capricious nature of fate (about half died miserably in forgotten poverty) and at worst feels lazy and inconclusive. It also has the feel of a book meant to sit by the toilet, as Bryson repeats facts and has an irritating habit of ending segments with phrases like "little did they know, this was only the beginning". As a whole, the end result is frustrating, particularly given the promising beginning. Not Bryson's best.
Dar — baseball
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