Made in America

Made in America In this sequel to his history of the English language Mother Tongue Bryson takes an informed and fond look at the history of Americans through their popular culture and language He explains why they

  • Title: Made in America
  • Author: Bill Bryson Mike McShane
  • ISBN: 9780001048089
  • Page: 238
  • Format: Audio Cassette
  • In this sequel to his history of the English language, Mother Tongue, Bryson takes an informed and fond look at the history of Americans through their popular culture and language He explains why they drive on the right, say lootenant, and call a certain type of sandwich a hamburger.

    248 Comment

    • Paul Bryant says:

      Bill Bryson is like the Abba of books. Everyone, your granny and your kid's teacher and your babysitter, and your mum's friends, everybody has a couple they really like and they probably have Bill Bryson's Greatest Hits on the cd shelf too. Safest present to give to someone you know very little about : a Bill Bryson book. Oh, everyone loves him Didn't he do Dancing Queen? We danced to Notes from a Small Island at our wedding. Oh did you - A Short History of Nearly Everything was "our book". I'm [...]

    • Petra X says:

      I'm up to Benjamin Franklin and frankly Ben, I've had enough of you and this book. I usually like Bryson's writing style, but the fruity self-congratulatory tone of this is irritating. Also, I think if you are an American you might be a great deal more interested in the entire of history of America as experienced by European settlers than I am. No 'might' about it, of course you are, its your country. Me, sorry, but I couldn't care less.Does that sound almost sacrilegious to you? Ask yourself th [...]

    • RandomAnthony says:

      Bryson’s Made In America is a usually fascinating but sometimes overwhelming conversation about the manner in which language has evolved in the United States over the last couple hundred years. If you imagine a guy at the end of the bar who knows way too much about a particular subject and, while he shares quite a few compelling and memorable facts with you over the course of an evening, eventually you forget them all because there are so goddamn many that you just want the guy to be quiet for [...]

    • John Rachel says:

      I am such a nerd! Why else would I find a book about "words" more exciting than "The Bourne Identity" or "Hunt For Red October". Then again, in my defense and to give enormous credit where it is due 1) I am a writer and words are everything to my trade, and 2) Bill Bryson brings such a fascinating and encyclopedic knowledge not just of etymology but a sensitivity to the historical and cultural environment within which language develops and evolves. His anecdotes are both engaging and informativ [...]

    • Negin says:

      This was thoroughly researched and full of trivia-type facts of U.S. history and the evolution of words in American English. Much of these facts were fascinating, but then the book got boring. Maybe it was the layout and the way that all the facts were organized. I can’t really tell. This being Bill Bryson, well, I guess that I wanted to like it much more than I did. I definitely prefer his travelogues, which are among my favorite books ever.

    • David says:

      WARNING: THIS REVIEW STOOPS TO LOW GIMMICKRY!Specifically, the reader is invited to imagine a conversation between two reviewers, both of whom live inside my head. As will become evident, one is infinitely more crotchety than the other, possibly to the extent of bloody-mindedness. To keep guesswork to a minimum, I will alternate between regular and italic fonts.This exploration of American English by Bill Bryson contains a wealth of entertaining anecdotal materialthat is unfortunately often buri [...]

    • Katie says:

      I will admit that I didn't actually finish this book, but by 3/4 of the way through, I was totally bored with it. The first few chapters of this book were actually interesting in that they discusses the way that the first settlers in American spoke, how that gradually began to differ from the way people spoke in English and how different it is from modern American speech. However, after these sections, the book simply introduced a historical period or a new technology and basically listed the wo [...]

    • nettebuecherkiste says:

      Bill Bryson hat sich als Autor zahlreicher Sachbücher über ein großes Spektrum hinweg einen Namen gemacht und wird von vielen besonders für sein Talent, die witzigsten Geschichten und Fakten ausfindig zu machen, sowie seinen trockenen Humor geliebt. Ich muss gestehen, dass ich bisher außer Notes From a Small Island nichts von ihm gelesen habe – was aber nicht an mangelndem Interesse liegt, sondern an der überwältigenden Anzahl von Büchern, die ich unbedingt bald lesen muss.Der Titel de [...]

    • Lars Guthrie says:

      What bothered me in "The Mother Tongue" was more irritating in this companion piece: the laundry lists of words categorized in catch-all bins. Exhausting for this reader. Also, this time, Bryson's blithe and breezy commentary seemed less witty and more shallow. He appears determined to shoot down myths of American cultural history, but looking at the footnotes, the research is weak. One example: Bryson dismisses Zane Grey as "a New York dentist who knew almost nothing of the West but refused to [...]

    • Vasco Simões says:

      Para quem gosta de história como eu e tem sempre curiosidade por saber de onde vêm as coisas então este é definitivamente um livro que vão gostar. Tenho a sensação de que acabei de ler uma enciclopédia. Desde os colonos até ao nosso século há tanta referência a tanta coisa. Pessoas, palavras, expressões, comidas, locais, objetivosum mundo de conhecimento ao nosso dispôr e de forma acessível. É para mim um dos melhores do Bill Bryson e com muito mais ritmo e interesse (a meu ver) [...]

    • Jaylia3 says:

      Funny, interesting and informative. One fact that sticks with me is that every town in America had its own time until the railroad decided clock time needed to be standardized. What that has to do with American English I don't remember, but that's how Bryson's writing is--there are lots of fascinating side stories.

    • Bandit says:

      From the author who consistently manages to write the exact sort of nonfiction I enjoy comes a history of American, that very specific form of linguistic mutilation bestowed upon proper English by our fair nation. This isn't just a linguistic study though, this is very much an American history book told from a perspective of a linguist and/or etymologist. While American history doesn't interest me all that much (which didn't preclude me from learning about as much as a person can about it throug [...]

    • Niranjan M says:

      This is one of those books that takes you quite a while to read, but not because its slow. The information contained in the 400-odd pages is simply too much to digest in one go. Bryson takes us from the 1500s till the early 1990s, taking us through each and every American thing there is in between. Funny thing is, this is meant to be a book on the evolution of American English, but it is also one about history. I learnt more about American history, or rather, what made America what it is today, [...]

    • Annk says:

      I love Bill Bryson. His narratives are rich with cultural tidbits and historical wonders. Unfortunately, this book crawled. I felt like I was on a car ride with my favorite uncle who told a bunch of amusing anecdotes that were amusing when we were just on the way to the beach, but became insufferable on a long, cross-country drive. Good in small doses. The tidbits are great. But boy, it was hard to stick with this one.

    • Michael says:

      Although I don’t live in America, it is obvious that they have had a big influence on the English language. Bill Bryson’s ‘Made In America’ explores the history of America and the effects it had on the language. I found the most interesting parts to do with censorship in America, from titbit becoming tidbit, cockroach becoming roach and to the extreme case of political correction which wanted to stop the use of terms like blackeye and blacksmith (but interestingly enough, not blackout). [...]

    • Sarina Madan says:

      Another wonderful Bryson book. I simply adore his writing style. His books are like candy. The one detraction from this book is the length. I wish that this was a history of the US, instead of a history of the English language in the US. Some of the etymology is truly interesting, but the long lists of words and fixation of spelling variances throughout history are tedious. If this was taken out (or slimmed down) it would be a much better book. Even so, this is a really enjoyable book as underne [...]

    • Mel says:

      Oh my gosh I finally finished this book. It’s not that it was a bad book. It actually was quite informative and entertaining. I have read many Bryson books and I know he is a detailed guy but this book was the king of detail. Kind of a slog at times. Lots of cool facts though, if only I could remember them.

    • Stacy says:

      Fascinating. I loved it.

    • Guy says:

      Much, MUCH, MUCH more than a history of the English language in America! Bryson with magical and funny writing links the evolution of language with the evolution of culture, science, recreation, food, politics. His controversial or almost heretical debunkings of accepted history are supported with an extensive bibliography of the sources.The debunking is endless! Barely a page was turned that didn't leave me amazed at how much I don't know, and just how far away from documented history is the ac [...]

    • Edward says:

      Considering how crucial it is to our every day lives, we know precious little about language. Where certain words come from, why they are used in specific ways, etc. Take "OK" for instance--the most famous English phrase in the world, and perhaps American English's most lasting and pervasive contribution to English usage ever--and no one knows exactly where it came from. There are ideas, of course, ranging from a 19th century campaign slogan to a possible West African origin via slavery. But ast [...]

    • Thomas Houghton says:

      3 Stars - GoodThe PremiseBill Bryson takes a trip through the history of America in an attempt to identify and explain some of the origins and peculiarities behind phrases and popular words.Pros and ConsPositives:- The book is well structured and follows a winding path through the american vocabulary, using a good range of themes to guide the reader through the development of the American language.- Where this book excels is when it combines rich explanations of certain vocabulary with a brief r [...]

    • Sarah says:

      As much as I love Bill Bryson's writing, I found it reeeeeeeeeally difficult to get through "Made in America." I learned a lot of interesting facts and the book did clear up some misconceptions I had, but it didn't make up for the fact that some of the sections in this book were incredibly boring. I know that the book was primarily supposed to be about the origins of everyday words and phrases, but sometimes it felt like Bryson went a bit overboard. It felt like I was reading a dictionary, and h [...]

    • Ryan says:

      This book is kind of like A Short History of Nearly Everything About American History, structured around etymology. In other words, it's awesome. One of the more enjoyable Bill Bryson books I've read, mostly because I don't have to read about him whining while traveling. I'll always hang onto my copy of it to reference. Here's just a few of the myriad of things I learned from this book:- The term "ham actor" was coined because lesser actors used to use ham fat to remove their make-up, rather tha [...]

    • Rusty says:

      This is the second book about the history of English by Bill Bryson I’ve read. This one, however, is laser focused on how English evolved once people started speaking it over here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. Turns out, just like all his other books, it’s a whirlwind of historical trivia. I personally didn’t enjoy this one as much as the previous book about English because the language itself wasn’t formed here, so this is more of a history of the unique vocabulary and idioms used here i [...]

    • Jill says:

      This book is advertised as a history of the English language in the United States. But readers who primarily want to know about the trends of English in America, about its broader causes and effects, will only feel satisfied with this book about 50% of the time. When Bryson uses vocabulary examples to support larger narratives or points, he's brilliant. When was American English adapted from British English (losing 'doth' and 'liveth'), how was it altered by different eras of immigration, and wh [...]

    • Holly says:

      This book, as it took me about half of it to finally grasp the concept, is a history of pretty much how the US came to be, from the pilgrims and the Mayflower and then right down to the space age. For me the book for pretty slow starting. The chapters about the founding fathers of America was pretty tough because a lot of the writing relied upon prior knowledge of the subject, of which I have very little, but past that, this book is typical Bryson.Funny whilst unbelievably informing this book is [...]

    • Tanmay Tikekar says:

      twowheeledrambler/As is the case with all Brysons, this is a delightfully light read, despite having a seemingly boring topic and more than 400 pages. If you're a language or history nerd, though, it's a veritable feast.In many ways, parallels can be drawn between "Made in America" and 'A Short History of Nearly Everything'. Like in Short History, Bryson has kept the pacing engaging by not dawdling on needless intricacies of the subject. Virtually never is there "too much" information. He elabor [...]

    • John says:

      In "Made in America", Bill Bryson romps through American culture as he uncovers the history of the English language pertaining to specific eras and segments of society. As one might expect, the formation of language peculiarities is an excuse for Bryson to tour the unusual in American history. There's great information in every chapter - per-marital sex was common and expected in Puritan America - along with litanies of slang. "'Noah's Boy' was a slice of ham . . d that 'burn one' or 'grease spo [...]

    • Benjamin Duffy says:

      This ended up being much more of a straightforward history book than I expected. It rambled pleasantly and expansively through American history, pausing frequently to examine origins of common words and expressions.I was surprised at how clearly Bryson's political views shone through the text, but since those views - liberal, populist - generally agreed with mine, that was a plus in my eyes. Few things are quite so gratifying as reading a book (or even a bumper sticker) that states your own opin [...]

    • Jim Bowen says:

      Bill Bryson is a humorous author who typically write gently comic travel books, that draw heavily on his bewilderment at modern life, and its' incongruities. On occasion he changes directions, writing books about history, and Shakespeare, for example, while maintaining his humorous approach to the subject matter.This books is one of this direction changes. Here, he looks at the history of English in his native America. He addresses a variety of issues, and looks at a variety of times. So he talk [...]

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