One Summer

one summer cover image One Summer: America 1927

by Bill Bryson
History
Anchor Press
Paperback, 544 pages
$16.95

It was the summer that Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, much of the country was engulfed by a catastrophic flood, Jack Dempsey lost the famous “long count” fight to Gene Tunney, the world’s leading bankers made the policy adjustment that would do so much to bring down Wall Street in 1929, “The Jazz Singer” was released, an American audience got its first public demonstration of television, work started on Mount Rushmore, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed, and Henry Ford stopped making Model T’s. And oh, yes, most of the world went mad over a 25-year-old prodigy named Charles Lindbergh, who flew a flimsy plane to Paris from New York.

All this and much, much more transpired in that epic summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order.