Many years ago I had a little project going called 1927. It was the year my mother was born, and I often wondered what it was like living at that time. On the one hand it was the dawn of television and silent movies, transatlantic flights and phone calls, but on the other there were still horses on the streets and most people lived in abject poverty.
But the more I read about art & history or listened to music or went to the cinema, the more it became obvious that 1927 was quite a year. Picasso, Magritte, Ernst, Man Ray, Surrealism generally, Chaplin, Metropolis, the Bauhaus, jazz, Milhaud, Ravel and on and on. I used to jot down new discoveries (like 'Dancing Bears banned in Berlin streets') in a home-made leather book with plastic sleeves for pictures. Later an Australian band and a British theatre company would call themselves 1927. Anyway, over time I lost interest in it and the book is in storage somewhere.
And then, up pops Bill Bryson to write a proper book about it - or rather its American summer. It's a good read: Lindbergh's flight, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and a cast full of colourful, energetic, entrepreneurial and downright eccentric characters.