Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

I decided to go ahead and follow Partly Cloudy Patriot with Assassination Vacation and it was well worth it. An information-packed travelogue-of-sorts detailing the events and people surrounding the first three presidential assassinations. It sounds like a morbid topic, but it is not written that way. The "story" is entertaining, random and even funny in places (Guiteau, the guy who assassinated Garfield, was umm...insane). Unlike Partly Cloudy Patriot, this book shies away from too much discussion of current politics except to point out, in the case of the McKinley assassination, how history tends to repeat itself in cases of imperialism and the spread of democracy.
If you are interested in American history, or just like random facts, this is definitely a book to add to your list. I learned all sorts of interesting tid-bits like the origin of the Oneida china company, the supposed but incorrect origin of the phrase "your name is mud," the history behind the creation of the Lincoln Monument, and so much more.
I give it 4.5 stars, simply because I think the last 3 or 4 pages could have been left out...but overall a very good read.

4 comments:

Lula O said...

I've totally got to read these. They sound like just the thing I've been in the mood for lately - I've read more non-fiction this year that probably any year since college! Are they in paperback yet?

Bryce and Mandy said...

This sounds very interesting. I love history especially anything involving Lincoln so I think I am going to have to try this one. What an interesting idea for a book...

Stephanie said...

Oh no! Another book to add to my already too long "to-read" list! :)

Danielle and Jason said...

Yes, both are in paperback. She also has a new one out (still in hardback) called "The Wordy Shipmates" which is about Puritan society in colonial times. I'm not super into colonial history, so I'm probably not going to rush out and buy it, but her writing style is such that she could probably make even puritan america interesting.