Tuesday, October 15, 2013


An article at Common Dreams yesterday, about a new book by Bill Bryson had to catch my eye. I've read several of his travel books, count him as a favourite author. His new book is titled One Summer - America, 1927.

In the Common Dreams article Heather Mallick proposes that:

2013 Resembles 1927, A Terrifying Year
2013 is looking a lot like 1927, a scary year in American history.

2 paragraphs from Ms Mallick's piece:
I don’t know why you all seem to think it’s 2013. Clearly it is 1927. I just read Bill Bryson’s book on the American summer of that year — the glorious writer has an astonishing knack for narrative even on sedative subjects like baseball — and it fell from my nerveless fingers when I realized what he was trying to convey.

The world is holding 1927 all over again......................................

Here’s the list the normally cheerful Bryson offers in One Summer, America 1927: The U.S. Federal Reserve made the fatal error that led to the 1929 stock market crash. The Mississippi flooded catastrophically. Young “flappers” were dressed like sluts and dancing shamelessly. A Michigan man blew up a school to protest taxation, killing 44 people in the worst mass child slaughter in U.S. history. Anti-Semitism rolled and crackled. Radio became huge, a free medium that killed many newspapers and left journalists wondering what to do. The U.S. was run by two presidents, Coolidge and Hoover, each awful in their own way. Terrorist bombs went off across the U.S. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. Prohibition made people drink illegally. Charles Lindbergh made international flight look easy.

Ms Mallick ends with:
Bryson’s book is very fine but Americans will read it for giggles and miss its point. We have learned nothing. We are gormless, we are running on the spot.

Official synopsis of the book:
In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day (and slept much of the rest of the time), a semi-crazed sculptor with a mad plan to carve four giant heads into an inaccessible mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown and finished it as the most famous man on earth. (So famous that Minnesota considered renaming itself after him.)

It was the summer that saw the birth of talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone’s reign of terror, the horrifying bombing of a school in Michigan by a madman, the ill-conceived decision that led to the Great Depression, the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of a wheezing, over-the-hill baseball player named Babe Ruth, and an almost impossible amount more.

In this hugely entertaining book, Bill Bryson spins a story of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy. With the trademark brio, wit and authority that have made him Britain’s favourite writer of narrative non-fiction, he rolls out an unforgettable cast of vivid and eccentric personalities to bring to life a forgotten summer when America came of age, took centre stage and changed the world for ever.

I reached for my 20th century ephemeris to see what the outer planets were doing in 1927 - perhaps there'd be some correlation with the 2013 lineup. I couldn't spot anything obvious, other than Uranus transiting Aries during both time spans.

Taking June as representative of 1927's summer: Saturn at 3 Sagittarius; Uranus 2 Aries; Neptune 24 Leo; Pluto 14 Cancer. In June this year Saturn at 5 Scorpio; Uranus 11 Aries; Neptune 5 Pisces; Pluto 11 Capricorn.

From other reviews of Brysons's new book I've read so far, it seems to me to illuminate more of an "entrance" and "exit" situation: in 1927 the USA entered its presumed heyday, in 2013 it is at the exit.

Without reading the book, it's unfair to judge one way or another, but from what we know: any thoughts?

There's an old post from April 2007 titled Everything in Life is Somewhere Else..... mentioning Bill Bryson, I found it and was surprised to discover a coincidence of sorts. That post was written just as we were about to set out on our first, and only other trip to Ohio to see husband's son, we've just returned from a second such trip!


mike said...

This is a bit tough to call, Twilight. The 1927 comparison states the stock market in its high...that would have to compare to the summer of 2008, just prior to the housing and financial bubbles' collapse.

The correlation I detect is Neptune @ 24 Aquarius 2008 vs Neptune @ 24 Leo 1927...Neptune opposition Neptune.

Using the USA's natal date-time of July 4, 1776, between noon and 4 PM, would put Neptune on (2008) or opposing (1927) the USA's natal moon. Depends on the USA's natal chart, which I think you have a different date...don't have time right now to go through your archive.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Ms Mallick's proposition could be wrong, of course - just her theory and opinion. It's not fully upheld by astrology - my conclusion. I prefer my "entrance and exit" version, also not upheld. :-)

There's Neptune though, and 2008 - well-spotted, mike!

I like the 2 July Armistead chart for the USA (but that's just me).
US Moon in that one is conjunct Pluto at 25 Capricorn (Pluto at 27). Neptune 22 Virgo.

Juno said...

Hi Twilight,

I don't think the U.S is at an exit stage, but going through a MAJOR transition with the old guard resisting every step of the way. It will be rocky for years to come with the changes Pluto in Capricorn brings. Maybe I am too optimistic. In any event, it is not so fun to live through these changes, though. Nothing seems stable.

Twilight said...

Juno ~ Ah! :-) I didn't mean a complete exit, just an exit from its "heyday" period.

We could both be right, then. Though I doubt any kind of transition made could ever reinstate USA to its former "glories", by the time completed too many other candidates, waiting for their own heydays, would be nipping at US heels.

I agree, change, eventually for the better, is gonna come, probably around 2025, maybe even a bit before.

ex-Chomp said...

There is truth in this comparison. The times of Usa dominance are going to an end, but it is making much more harm the inner neoliberist fanaticist agenda and the pseudoliberty maniacs than the whole terrorism.

Usa are their best enemies.

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ Dominance was gradual, let us hope the exit from dominance will be equally gradual and not nearly as painful as some suspect.

Yes, put another way the USA is "a fool to itself"...its own best (or worst) enemy. :-(