One Summer (Bryson) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also, consider these LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for One Summer:

1. Of all the stories that Bryson tells in One Summer, which one do you find most interesting—which  engaged you more than others? Which story most surprised you (e.g., President Coldidge's four-hour work day)?

2. Of all the heroes covered in the book, whom do you have the most sympathy for? Maybe Philo Farnsworth?  Which hero do you most admire?  Most despise?

3. How did Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray bungle the coverup of their murder?

4. What about Robert Elliott, America's top executioner—how would you describe him? What in his background shaped him to do his job? Would you want him as a father...or husband?

5. Bryson's trademark humor is on display in One Summer. What parts, in particular, did you find funny?

6. How much, if anything, have your learned from One Summer? If you've read Bryson's previous A Brief History of Nearly Everything, how does this book compare?

7. Is there anything about the episodes in this book that mark them as distinctly American? Is there something that links them together in a way that defines the culture of this country?

8. The book has been criticized as "light"—lacking any deeper analysis—that it's merely a collection of disparate historical anecdotes whose purpose is to amuse. Hmmm... Do you agree...or disagree?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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