Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

A Memoir

by Bill Bryson

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2007, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Elsewhere in the 1950s.

While many in the USA experienced an unprecedented economic boom in the 1950s, what was happening elsewhere?

Europe: The division of Europe into West and East persisted. The foundations for the European Community were laid. Rationing continued in some Western countries (e.g. in Britain up until 1953), but post-war reconstruction was booming, due to the Marshall Plan (a four year plan instigated in 1947 during which about $13 billion of economic and technical assistance was given by the USA to certain European countries. At the end of the four years, the economies of every participating country except Germany had exceeded their pre-war levels.

The Middle East: The increasing importance of oil gave an economic boost to many Middle Eastern countries, but the ruling elite were the main ones to benefit. The fledgling state of Israel spent most of the decade in a 'state of austerity' as it tried to accommodate the approx. 250,000 Holocaust survivors who flocked to Israel, and many of the 800,000 or so Jewish refugees that were expelled from Arab countries, in response to the approx. 700,000 Arab refugees created by the founding of Israel.

Africa: Many countries achieved independence as the European colonists started to withdraw, but government corruption was rife, as were border conflicts, disease and famine.

Asia: In China, Mao Tse-Tung led the revolution against the Nationalist government, instigating his "Great Leap Forward", which was a leading cause of the "Three Years of Natural Disasters", at the end of the decade, during which about 38 million people died from widespread famine. The Korean War came and went. The First Indochina War in Vietnam ended with the defeat of the USA backed French and the partitioning of Vietnam into North and South, but American involvement in the region continued, eventually leading to the Second Indochina War ("Vietnam War").

The Caribbean: Castro overthrew the corrupt Batista regime; Haiti gained a new dictator.

The Soviet Union: Stalin died, democratic uprisings were suppressed in Poland and Hungry. Cold War tensions increased. Sputnik was launched.

Australia became a formal military ally of the USA. Mass immigration from Europe continued.

This article was originally published in October 2006, and has been updated for the September 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -