Saturday, September 5, 2015

One Summer in America - 1927 - Bill Bryson

By all accounts, 1927 was a memorable year in America and the author set out to blend all the events of the time into a coherent story line.  Bryson takes historical events (Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic) sports (Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig memorable seasons with the Yankees), politics (Calvin Coolidge's presidency and the rise of Herbert Hoover), and the rise of the Hollywood movie industry and tells how they launched lasting impacts on America and the rest of the World.

One seeming omission that rankled my reading of the book was scarce mention of significant accomplishments and contributions of women.  Where was Margaret Mead or Margaret Sanger? Jane Addams? Amelia Earhart?  It reminds me that history becomes what is recorded and if it is recorded by men, then the contributions and stories of women may be overlooked or diminished.

Some parts I noted:

"[Pinedo, an Italian aviator, doing a cross country tour after an Atlantic crossing] On April 6, en route to a civic reception in San Diego, he landed at a reservoir called Roosevelt Lake in the desert west of Phoenix...a youth lit a cigarette and threw the match in the water..." and his plane was engulfed in flames.

He describes the use of the new Standford version of the Binet-Simon test, which eventually became the modern IQ test and says "it is interesting to reflect that the IQ test was invented not to determine how smart people are, but how stupid."

Overall, the book was a good read, providing a snapshot of the U.S. at that time and the influences and impacts of the events.

Published:  2013  Read: August 2015  Genre: History, Non-Fiction

ISBN: 9 7807 919401

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