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Saturday, May 31, 2014

It happened one summer

I'm told the annual occasions which sell most books are Christmas and Father's Day.

Makes sense, I suppose. Doesn't matter how much of a book lover mother is, you probably don't buy her a book for Mother's Day.

Father's Day is coming up in a couple of weeks and you can obtain One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson for the price of a pair of socks. I can't see why the recipient wouldn't thank you.

What happened in summer 1927?  Babe Ruth redefined baseball. Charles Lindbergh redefined celebrity. The Mississippi flooded. The Jazz Singer was filmed (with sound). Radio became enormous. TV was invented. Al Capone and the Federal Reserve made the mistake of thinking they could go on forever. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. Work began on Mount Rushmore. Above all, as Bryson says, the USA, which had up to then been used to all the biggest advances coming from Europe, began to realise it was the most powerful country in the world.