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Made in America cover art

Made in America

By: Bill Bryson
Narrated by: William Roberts
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Publisher's Summary

In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.
©1994 Bill Bryson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about Made in America

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very entertaining account of American vocabulary

I love this book and I've read it several times. It is rich and varied and funny. the tales are told in a funny and gripping way. No wonder Bill Bryson writes on languages; he obviously loves words and writes with a light airy tone that belies the masses of research that clearly sit behind the adept construction of this book.
The last Bryson on audible I purchased had the author narrating. I don't really like his voice at all so I was pleased to see a different narrator for this one. Unfortunately, this narrator is very irritating. The book is so 'over-read' that it feels like I'm listening to a children's book. As an adult listener, im capable of picking up jokes without the narrator virtually waggling his eyebrows and nudging me in the ribs. Dial it down, dude. I'm able to interpret without your heavy handed delivery. This does detract from experience a great deal.

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

‘who knew ?’ well…, now i do :-)

Truly in-depth look at language of the States United in America.
Bill Bryson has again provided an interesting informative instrument of ear candy for the eclectic bookworm, while William Roberts has made it aurally enjoyable, thank you gentlemen:-)

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

VERY DIFFERENT TO BILL BRYSON'S TRAVEL BOOKS

What did you like best about Made in America? What did you like least?

Made in America largely focusses on the words that are considered to be "American English", or the place names and how they came about. There is also quite a lot of history, which is probably what I enjoyed most, and the fallacies that surround the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Columbus, Paul Revere, etc. Not being from America some of it was perhaps lost on me.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Made in America?

There must have been a phenomenal amount of research go into this book, by a man with genuine love for the written word. By and large that love comes through the book, but some of it was not that interesting to this reader. I did enjoy the 'debunking' of historical figures, and legends, such as the fact the settlers heading west never used canvas covered wagons, and how small a percentage of the population of the west were "cowboys".

What didn’t you like about William Roberts’s performance?

Others have commented that Bill Bryson should read his own books himself, and I'm inclined to agree. This must've been a difficult book to narrate, and William Roberts makes a solid effort, but I didn't find myself laughing at all. Other books, narrated by Bill Bryson, had many laugh out loud moments. Not sure if it is the material or the narration - probably a bit of both. But for a Bill Bryson book to lack humour seems to indicate something is missing from the narration.

Did Made in America inspire you to do anything?

It's a history lesson in the main, and an interesting one. What it did for me was convince me how hard it was for the early settlers, and immigrants. The early days of America were pretty rough, and while the rewards were immense for a relative few, it was very, very hard work for most, and life was tough. The present day may have it's faults but I'm glad to be living now and not 200 years ago. Thanks to Bill Bryson for 'keeping it real'.

Any additional comments?

I do note that Bill Bryson's latest book is self narrated, and I'd encourage him to continue reading his own books. Mr Robert's efforts were solid and clear, but for whatever reason any humour in the text was lost.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fascinating etymological journey through U.S. history

Pressed play largely due to it being Bill Bryson + it was free, without first really bothering to investigate the subject matter. I'm glad I did. Another thoroughly enjoyable Bryson title; a well-paced blend of knowledge and humour. A curiously engaging deep dive into speech, the origin of phrases we've commonly used for years and the unique contributions the American lexicon has made.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Keep coming back

Bill Bryson is one of my go to authors. I’ve listened to Made in America three times and read the book once. Never disappointed.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great

a go go go good bo Bo Bo book, why do I have to write 15 words for a review?

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A very entertaining pastiche of American History

Using the English language as the narrative thread but connecting it with interesting anecdotes and humorous stories recounting the development of the nation, it’s language and its culture Brydon gives us a wonderful yarn. I loved it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Thoroughly enjoyable

Interesting as always, especially so if interested in linguistics and etymology. While not perfect, the book is well researched, written & narrated.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

Loved it had a bit of everything in it and a fair few good laughs

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating story

A great combination of American history and the story of American English. I really enjoyed it.

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