Made In America by Bill Bryson is a book that explores the history of the English language in the United States. Bryson takes readers on a journey through the evolution of American English, from its roots in British English to its current form.
He examines the impact of immigration, the influence of popular culture, and the development of regional dialects. Along the way, he de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty desert hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn’t won, why Americans say ‘lootenant’ and ‘Toosday’, and how they were able to create their own unique version of the English language.
The book is written in an entertaining and witty style, making it an ideal summer read. It is full of interesting facts and trivia, and provides readers with an insight into the history of the United States and its language.
Bryson also offers his own critiques of American business and history, and provides readers with an understanding of how language has shaped the nation.
What I Liked
This book was simply hilarious. I loved that he’s so well placed to make observations about American culture – he grew up American, so he knows the context, but he’s also spent 25+ years in England, so he also has the distance.
What I Did Not Like
The physical formatting (like the font and font size) in the edition that I read was tiny and scrunched together – it gave the feeling of a “wall of text”.