One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Hmmmm…. I know I am going to get into a lot of trouble for this review from Bill Bryson fans…BUT, I simply did not love the book. I am not sure if it’s because I expected more out of him or if the book simply did not click with me. Whatever it was, I sort of wish I had not wasted my time or money. So what were the issues I had with book?
1. I get the feeling Bryson really wanted to do a book on Charles Lindbergh, rather than the Summer of 1927. A LARGE portion of the book is devoted to aviation and Lindbergh’s flight and subsequent celebrity. Too much of the book in my opinion. That might have been the biggest thing to happen that summer… but it simply got to be too much. I feel as if the book was something of a bait and switch– if was going to be a long tale of Lindbergh Bryson should have just said at the outset.
2. I did not care for Bryson’s treatment of President Calvin Coolidge. His tone and disrespect for MY FAVORITE president was truly unfair. He presents Coolidge as something of a simpleton, when that is far from the case. Further more, he does not defend his depiction of Coolidge with hard facts. Rather he treats him as a fool without backing it up.
3. I am not sure that Bryson made his case as to WHY this was a critical summer in American history. He did a nice job explaining the summer and Lindbergh’s success spurred the American airline industry. But, this conclusion does not come until the afterword. Other than that, I am not sure that Byrson really closed the loop on WHY this summer mattered more than say 1926 or 1928. And, again he should have simply written a book on aviation.
All and all, the book was a unsatisfying for the genre. I wish I had picked something else.