This book is just loads of fun. Is it possible that this much of significance takes place every year in history? Whatever the answer, 1927 was a heck of a year, and Bill Bryson knows how to bring it to life.
Proceeding month by month through the year, he tells great anecdotes, providing plenty of background for each person or event profiled so you understand the significance of what happened.
1927 was the year that Charles Lindberg crossed the ocean; Babe Ruth broke the all-time home run record; the first talking motion picture was filmed; Jack Dempsey lost the famous “long count” fight to Gene Tunney; Sacco and Vanzetti were executed; eugenics was captivating the minds of scholars; and work was started on the carvings at Mount Rushmore.
We also hear about Ty Cobb, Clara Bow, Jack Dempsey, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford, Lou Gehrig, Al Capone, and Rin Tin Tin, among others. Since most of us are unlikely to pour through histories of all these people, it’s very entertaining to find out some of the most interesting and/or outrageous stories about them.
Jim and I listened to this book on audiotape. We thought the narration by Bryson was competent, although I did wince every time Bryson added an “r” to Washington. But Bryson’s enthusiasm for his subject was evident.
Published unabridged on 14 compact discs (17 hours of listening), with narration by Bill Bryson, by Random House Audio, a division of Random House, 2013
Note: One of the landmark events of 1927 was the release of the movie Wings, which won the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture in 1927. Bryson goes into some detail about what made this movie so special. You can get an idea yourself in this trailer for the newly remastered version of that movie: