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Bill Bryson’s new book, One Summer, travels back in time to the year America came of age: 1927. This is the America of legend: the booming stock market soon to crash; prohibition; Al Capone at the height of his terrifying powers; a bold plan to carve giant heads into the blank face of Mount Rushmore; and an aviator named Charles Lindbergh – unknown at the beginning of the summer, and by its close the most famous man on Earth. Against this backdrop, Bryson spins a story of brawling adventure and reckless optimism, with a cast of unforgettable and eccentric characters.
Bryson has written on a vast spectrum of topics and to read any one of his books is to feel a great empathy with him and his subject. Everything he writes testifies to his humane interest in people, unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and joy in sharing it with others. He fills us with wonder, whatever the subject – not least in tackling the America of the 1920s – the America that most of all captures our imagination.