I’m a big fan of Bryson, starting from way back when he (mainly) wrote travel books. More recently, he’s been focusing on in-depth looks at specific subjects, largely looking at history.
This book focuses on America in the summer of 1927. At the time, the US was starting its rise to dominance of the global stage, before then it had been Europe that had been preeminent.
Among the subjects covered are the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic, the decisions leading to the stock market crash, various headline grabbing events, including murders, the start of work on Mount Rushmore, baseball’s amazing season, attacks by anarchists, prohibition and, of course, gangsters.
To say that it’s based solely on the events of 1927 is a little misleading, because in order to give context, Bryson discusses much of what led to them, and also what impact they had. It also made me wonder if any year could have been used.
I found it an interesting read, filled with Bryson’s ability to dig out the interesting facts behind well-known stories and figures, as well an uncovering things you’ve probably never heard of (certainly for those outside the US).
It seemed to drag in a few places for me, especially nearer the end. It’s filled with such interesting stuff that it’s hard to stop though, because you never know what gem lies a few pages ahead.