Four star review, originally posted here on August 16, 2021.
This was the perfect summer read for non-fiction history nerds such as myself. Bryson jumps from topic to topic to deliver a clear snapshot of America at onr particular point in time. While we focus heavily on Lindburg to tie it all together, we hit on pretty much everything and anything else going on in 1927. Gangsters, floods, flight, boxing, baseball, prohibition, presidents, prejudice, and more! It’s the perfect little taste of every topic without lingering in any one place for too long. If you love history but just don’t have the attention span for a full volume on Henry Ford or Herbert Hoover right now, then this is the book for you. Some chapters captured my interest more than others, but that’s the nature of the beast, and the good news is that another topic was just a couple pages away.
Also, it’s Bill Bryson, which means things are kept lighthearted and fun as always. This was my first time doing a Bryson book as an audiobook, and I was surprised that he sounds nothing like what I expected. Whether it was his softer-than-expected verbal delivery, or the writing itself, this book seemed to be missing the insufferability and condescention that can sometimes taint his otherwise wonderful work.