51 pages 1 hour read

Bill Bryson

One Summer: America, 1927

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2013

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Index of Terms


The term aviation refers to the flight of aircrafts. Aviators are pilots who operate vessels that fly. In the 1920s, aviation was in an age of rapid development, characterized by horrible accidents and breakthrough successes. It had become an important piece of wartime strategy during World War I, but in the post-war period, no one was quite sure what social, political, or cultural role it should play (people did not yet fly between destinations, as planes were small and dangerous).

Aviation is a major focus of One Summer because the American pilot Charles Lindbergh won a contest when he became the first aviator to successfully fly across the Atlantic non-stop from New York to Paris in May 1927. That and a few other cross-ocean trips, as well as Lindbergh’s plane tour around the United States throughout the summer, allowed people to imagine regular passenger travel and commercial value in flying for the first time. Aviation is also the primary focus of Bryson’s consideration of technological innovations in the ’20s, representing the rapid speed at which these technologies advanced and the ways in which they kept the public enthralled.