A lot happened in the summer of 1927: Charles Lindbergh made his historic flight across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth was closing in on his home run record, and President Coolidge took a three month vacation in South Dakota, to name a few things.
Bill Bryson’s book One Summer is an in-depth look at just about everything that happened that summer. It’s fascinating to see just how much American history was changing (for better and for worse) during three short months. Bryson does a really nice job of weaving together all of the different people, places, and events. He describes things in great detail and then tells you that all of the events he described were happening within three days of each other. Although this nonfiction book isn’t so novelistic as The Boys in the Boat (my favorite nonfiction book of all time) or Dead Wake (a close second), it’s easy to understand and full of both important historical information and fun trivia.
Although I do have a picture of the physical book, I listened to much of this book on Audible. A classmate lent me the hard copy, but it’s pretty long, and I’ve been busy with school. I downloaded the audiobook version, which is read by the author, and never looked back. In my opinion, this is the best type of book to listen to on audio–it’s history, it’s interesting, but it’s also okay if one or two small details slip past you.
If my short synopsis hasn’t lured you in, let me just say that Bill Bryson is a fantastic writer. He can make just about anything funny, and there are some really funny passages in this book. You might remember my review of his two travel books, and (spoiler alert) I’m reading a book about the English language that was also written by him, so you’ll be seeing him again pretty soon.
All in all, I would recommend this book for history buffs, history not-so-buffs, nonfiction fans, and Bill Bryson fans. And if you don’t fall under one of those categories, you should read it anyways–it’s fascinating!