Year 8, Book 79

79. One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson brings his delightful writing into history this time, specifically the summer of 1927. Though technically the book spans parts of the spring and fall as well. It is divided into sections based on the months and traces a variety of notable stories over the course of that season. He chronicles the race to cross the Atlantic by plane and Charles Lindbergh’s eventual success in doing so and the fame that followed. 1927 also so Babe Ruth’s epic 60 home run season. He covers a variety of other events including a murder that dominated the headlines, severe weather and flooding along the Mississippi, and events that lead up to the collapse of the economy and the Great Depression among others.

The book provided me a lot more information regarding events I only knew little bits about in an entertaining manner as Bill Bryson so often does. My biggest takeaway from the book really was the more things change the more things stay the same. Everyone always thinks that the age their living in is special somehow and things are so much more (either better or worse) than in the past. To me it felt like I could have been reading any number of things that have happened in the past few years not to mention the general reactions of society to the younger generation. They were saying the same things back in 1927. Though I’m not sure it was his goal in writing it, this book is a good reminder that there is nothing inherently special about the time we’re living in. Amazing and noteworthy things have happened in the past, they are happening now, and will happen in the future. I give it an 8 out of 10.

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