Britain’s favourite writer of narrative non-fiction Bill Bryson travels back in time to a forgotten summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and, in five eventful months, changed the world for ever.
In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day (and slept much of the rest of the time), a semi-crazed sculptor with a mad plan to carve four giant heads into an inaccessible mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown and finished it as the most famous man on earth. (So famous that Minnesota considered renaming itself after him.)
It was the summer that saw the birth of talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone’s reign of terror, the horrifying bombing of a school in Michigan by a madman, the ill-conceived decision that led to the Great Depression, the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of a wheezing, over-the-hill baseball player named Babe Ruth, and an almost impossible amount more. In this hugely entertaining book, Bill Bryson spins a story of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy, with a cast of unforgettable and eccentric characters, with trademark brio, wit and authority.
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. Settled in England for many years, he moved to America with his wife and four children for a few years ,but has since returned to live in the UK. His bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods and Down Under. His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of the decade in the UK.
“Bill Bryson is a true master of popular narrative. Over the course of his career, he has bestowed a beautiful clarity on even the most recondite of subjects…With this book, he proves once again that he is able to juggle any number of different balls…while never letting a single one drop…Has history ever been so enjoyable?” Mail on Sunday
“Few writers of nonfiction, and,let’s be honest,few enough writers of novels, can crack the narrative whip like Bryson. One Summer fairly whirls along…full of exhilarating, fact-filled fun…surely the most sublime distraction published this year.” Observer
“A fascinating snapshot of a season during which America, for better or worse, ushered in the modern world.” Sunday Times
“A gifted raconteur…The book is filled with eccentric, flamboyant characters and memorable stories…highly amusing.” Guardian
“This splendid book, written in the breezy and humorous style that has come to be Bryson’s trademark, is sure to delight.” Huffington Post