51 pages 1 hour read

Bill Bryson

One Summer: America, 1927

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2013

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Part 5-EpilogueChapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 5: “September: Summer’s End”

Chapters 26-27 Summary

Bryson expands on the dark side of American culture in the 1920s before returning to discussions of technological innovations and points of interest in society.

Bryson claims that of all the nicknames for the 1920s, an accurate description would be “the Age of Loathing.” He explains, “There may never have been another time in the nation’s history when more people disliked more other people from more directions and for less reason” (359). He specifically mentions sexism, antisemitism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, which targeted Black Americans and many others. According to Bryson, eugenics was not a fringe movement, but one that persuaded many American academics and politicians as well as the mainstream population. “Eugenics,” he explains, “was used to justify enforced deportations, the introduction of restrictive covenants on where people could live, the suspension of civil liberties, and the involuntary sterilization of tens of thousands of innocent people” (363). The case Buck v. Bell, decided in 1927, expanded the state’s ability to force sterilization. It wouldn’t be until the following decade that public opinion would reverse regarding eugenics.

The following chapter is about early television. As early as the 1920s, several inventors were approaching approximations of modern television.