Review: One Summer, America, 1927

Bill Bryson has a knack for taking disparate facts and building them into an interesting narrative.  in 1927 he does this with significant aplomb, picking a few larger than life people and watching how their lives and times mesh and unmesh.

1927 is a good year for such a study of America.  It’s the year that Lindberg crossed the Atlantic, that the Yankees fielded perhaps the greatest baseball team ever – led by Babe Ruth, and that’s just the beginning. Bryson is a natural raconteur and he both provides the color commentary on the larger than life protagonists, and he generates the overarching narrative the pulls the whole thing together.

He doesn’t stay completely in 1927, of course.  There are activities that set context for what happens in ’27.  There are activities that have their real repercussions after 1927, though their roots are there.

Along the way Bryson shows us how 1927 reflects our time – show trials and pointless celebrity – and how it differs.  It’s compelling to see how much and how little we have changed as a nation.

Strongly Recommended.

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