©1994 Bill Bryson; (P)2002 BBC Audiobooks Limited
"Bryson offers a playfully anecdotal account of the etymology of distinctive words and phrases that help to create a distinctly American English." (Publishers Weekly)
"A treat....Filled with surprises....A literate exploration of why we use, or mangle, our native tongue." (USA Today)
As with all Bill Bryson, he does not just take you, in this case on an adventure of the formation of language in America, but brushes on the expansive history of America and the world, yet does not drift into irrelevancy. His ridiculously well written book gives you the history of 1,000's of words and cleverly places them into a relevant context.
My *only* complaint is that when the reader, (who reads fantastically) spells words out, I find it rather hard to keep up, the book obviously being primarily written for print. However this is infrequent and I suggest that this is based on my own faults, and should not stop you from buying this fantastic book.
As a native Brit I wondered how interesting a book about American English would be to me. I was also rather concerned about the scope of this book - how on Earth could Bill Bryson fill such a long time with what seemed like such a limited topic?
My concerns on both counts were unfounded. It turns out that most of the Americanisms that Bill Bryson covers in his book are so embedded in British English now that we don't even think of them as Americanisms any more. Interestingly it also works in reverse - many things we think of as Americanisms actually started out in Britain!
On the second count, Bill Bryson does far more than just list words that are Americanisms and research their origins. He puts them in their cultural context, and indeed in some ways this book is more of a history of America told through the development of its language. Indeed, at some points the link between the topic being covered and the development of American English is distant to say the least.
Despite its considerable length, this book kept my interest throughout. The only issue I can really highlight is that it does get a bit confusing sometimes when words are being spelt out, but this happens only occasionally and is not a serious issue. Apart from this, the narration is brilliant and adds to what is already an excellent book.
All in all, a highly recommended book.
Anyone who loves language and fancies themselves an arm-chair historian will absolutely love this book. Wonderfully read by William Roberts. Download it NOW!
Bill Bryson is a first-rate story teller, bringing history to life with rich insights and perspective. Also, it should be noted that William Roberts's narration is so good that you don't notice it's there and I say that as the highest compliment.
I enjoyed this book but it was very annoying in places with constant lists of words but even more tedious was listening to lists of individual words being spelt out. The facts in the book were vaguely interesting but not so interesting that you would bother relaying the fact to anyone else or bringing it up in conversation. Overall a bland book, wellr esearched but not a page turner.
As with all Bill Bryson's books I find myself waiting on tender hooks for the next mind blowing lesson. I'm sure everyone out there in listensville will learn more in a chapter about the way our cousins across the pond live and think than if you watched any ANY TV from the past 50 years. I am i awe of this great author. Especially when Bill still considers 50 cents a good tip.
Very interesting and well read.
Goes off subject and gets a bit duller towards the end
After 3 hours of listening to the admirable narrator pronouncing a series of words and then pronouncing them slightly differently I gave up on the promises made by other reviewers of fascinating history of the US and put this one down to experience. If its a broad survey of US history you are after then try the Empire of Liberty series. However, if its 20 hours of how the early pilgrims pronounced bound as band and other such fascinating pieces of information then this is the one for you.
I tend to have several books on the go at once - fiction alongside non-fiction. So this was useful as I could dip into the book and pause between passages.
This is a surprisingly easy listen given the subject matter of 'words' and phrases made in America. Interesting and informative - but obviously not useful as a quick reference - so treat it accordingly.
However - whilst I do not like 'abridged' version of books - there is something to recommend 'adapted' for audio - there are occasional passages where the book and audio consists of seemingly endless lists - which work well on paper but not on audio - especially when they are also spelled out.
This was a tricky wee read for the narrator and he coped admirably. We are taken on a linguistic journey from the Mayflower to present day. The origins of American English had several roots, English, Scottish, Irish, Native American, Spanish and German; and far from being a boring language lesson, it was an informative wee listen!
The history of inventions and the lying and cheating that went on to obtain copyrights was fascinating - especially the poor wee guy who was cheated by Singer on his sewing machine. You'll learn all about the later fads like Coke and McDonalds too, I'd recommend this.
"Bryson OK Roberts not so much"
I just started to listen but one thing is very clear to me,Bill Bryson needs to read his own books. The narrator doesn't make me want to keep listening but I will.
"Made In America"
A fantastic listen as it is very well written and read. The anecdotes and historical context to the subject matter are very interesting. I loved it and would definitely recommend it.
"Bryson Not Reading Makes For a Rare Fail"
Bill Bryson is both a great writer and reader. His books have been a high point in my time here at Audible, but the William Roberts doesn't get Bryson's pacing or timing and as a result much of the humor is lost. If Audible could get a rerecord, I would recommend this, but I would suggest not downloading it and reading it on paper or digital over this performance.
It is basically Bill Bryson's latest formula book. A fair amount of interesting stuff but no plot or any real coherent theme. A fair amount of information on word origins but really just another book of Bryson's somewhat humorous thoughts. Not nearly as good as his older books. The reader is not as good as Bryson as he does not seem to grasp the intended humor of what he is reading.
"What an unexpected pleasure!"
Having listened to Bill Bryson read his own works before, I was initially disappointed by the reading of William Roberts. However, further into the book, his impressions and characterised quotations brought the book to life and had me laughing out loud to the story! By the end, I wondered what I had ever been upset about and adored Roberts rendition. His accent and liveliness brought much needed drama to this very informally written, yet of a formal nature, text.
An avid language curiositist, I often ask,
"Brilliant as always"
Absorbing, entertaining and funny as Bill always is. No one else can pass on such interesting and detailed research as Bill does, while making you laugh the whole way. Highly recommended.
"William Roberts and Bill Bryson are superb!"
Yes, William Robert's voice nuances perfectly supplement Bryson's subtly wit.
William Robert's narrative voice.
Chapter 13 - William Roberts renditions of women's voices!
My next download will be a Bryson/Roberts combination.
"Enjoyed the information!"
Such interesting history behind how words come into existence. The book has so much information and research behind it.
"Corky Information on America"
"Made in America" is a bit misleading. While I enjoy Bill Bryson and his style of presenting information that I would never thought about, like crime against nature and Comstock laws, I was looking for more products that are made in the States. Instead, the majority of the information is on the American language. I just wish that there was more about American inventions in the 19th century. I forgot that Bill Bryson almost always present corky information and facts, but this is why I enjoy his curiosity.
"Another great Bill Bryson book."
I have 5 audio books from Bill Bryson. He is one of my favorite authors.
The strong suite of this book is not really characters, though there are some great characters. The strong suite here is all the anecdotes illustrating Mr. Bryson's historical overview.
He did fine.
Maybe a TV show, each chapter could be an episode. Ideally, Mr. Bryson should host.
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