0 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Vowell's Views are Consonantt With My Own , May 8, 2023
Blessed be Sarah, whose voice, though a Yowl; speaks truth with humor to the myths of Hannitized American history. This book is not recommended for yahoos or country club Republicans. This is a great laughing listen and a relief to those of us who live in North Carolina, where 'extreme rendition' is thought to be an up tempo version of Amazing Grace.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Political Commentary Turned me Off, May 8, 2023
After seeing Sarah Vowell on a recent David Letterman show I was amused by the author's take on political assassinations throughout American history. Quirky historical facts from American history have always been interested to me, and I was excited to learn more about this book. I thought the audio version would be a great purchase for my iPod, so I listened to a clip of Assassination Vacation on iTunes and was prepared to make the purchase. But when I listened to another audio clip on Audible.com's website, I was disappointed to hear that it was just another political book with more Bush bashing. The book was soon deleted from my shopping cart on iTunes. I will be glad when our country gets over the angry political mood we are currently in and we get back to where we were before the recent Presidential elections. I think Sarah Vowell's book would have been be a funny read [listen], but the political commentary ruined it for me.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Makes History Fascinating, May 8, 2023
This book is on par with Vowell's first two collections, 'Partly Cloudy Patriot' and 'Take the Cannoli'. This book is different, though, in that it is more cohesive, following one specific theme. Vowell does an excellent job of providing a patriotic view of Amercian History that is both humorous and enlightening. She should write history texts for the schools - then children would love history class for sure.
3 of 38 people found the following review helpful:
Sarah's Got A Political Axe to Grind - Don't Bother, May 5, 2023
Frankly I am disappointed.
When I first read about Sarah Vowell's book on visiting the assassination and burial sites of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy, I was quite eager to get a copy. I have many books on the murder of Abraham Lincoln and it is an episode of American History that often brings tears to my eyes. I too have read much on McKinley and his assassination, and have personnally visited the tombs of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy in my lifetime.
However when I read Ms. Vowell's comparison of Theodore Roosevelt to Paul Wolfowitz, and in a manner disparaging to both gentleman, I quickly put the book down and walked away. It is one thing to write a emotive, pathos-filled work on the assassination of four of our most beloved Presidents (whether or not you liked them), it is quite another to put your own political perspective in such a work. In her anger at the U.S. War in Iraq - and taking a swipe at the decision to go to war with Spain in 1898, Ms. Vowell has chosen the deplorable latter over what could have been a major historical accomplishment.
The reasons why we went to war with Spain were honorable ones, whether or not the U.S.S. Maine was sunk by the Spaniards. Did Ms. Vowell ever hear of the "Virginius"? or of Weyler and the Concentration Camps??? She even takes a swipe at the heroism of the Rough Riders!!!
Buy the Bishop and Manchester books on the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations, or Margaret Leach's insightful bio of McKinley.
By far the best book on the assassination Lincoln besides the works written by Jim Bishop and Carl Sandburg is the pictorial history -"Twenty Days" by the Kunhardts. Put your shekels down on it - not on some Lefty's complaints-filled tourguide...
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
An insightful, hilarious tour of American history, Apr 28, 2023
I've been a huge Sarah Vowell fan for a while now, and adored her three previous books, none of which prepared me for the sheer brilliance of "Asassination Vacation," whose main subject is the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. I have been throughly fascinated by the subject ever since taking part in a community theatre production of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins" last fall. And lo and behold! On the very first page, she describes her primary influence in writing the book: a community theatre production of "Assassins" she attended (not the same, of course)! The book is a great mix of history lesson, satire, political essay, and travelogue, and the title, "Assassination Vacation" is very apt, as it details her (admittedly strange) journey across America to visit all of the historical sites associated with the first three presidential assassinations (along with some other minor stops, such as to the site of Reagan's shooting by Hinckley). She goes to Ford's Theatre, she travels the journey that Booth took after shooting Lincoln, she even goes to the island north of Cuba where Dr. Mudd was incarcerated with a few other of the conspirators, she goes to Booth's grave, she goes to the museum where pieces of Lincoln's skull are kept on display...She pretty much goes everywhere even remotely linked, and gives an account that shows her taking her own wisdom from her "Revenge of the Nerds" essay in her last book, "The Partly-Cloudy Patriot" to heart, being a self-deprecating nerd. She admits how strange her fascination might be, and continually pokes fun at herself, which yields a great deal of comedy, but at the same time always remains incredibly reverent about her topics, particularly about Lincoln, whom she holds in exceptionally high regard, while at the same time wondering whether some part of her shouldn't thank Booth because Lincoln might not have been held in such high esteem today had he not been killed. She describes leaving the Lincoln Memorial, hating Booth, and then realizing he should, in some way, be thanked for his part in creating Lincoln the Legend. I love it for her observations and revelations such as that, and in particular how she compares the assassins to the presidents they kill, revealing that, in strange ways, they have more in common (ambition, drive, enormous egotism) than one might think. Her brain also works like a six-degrees-of-presidential-assassinations game (as she says herself at one point), and she can basically connect any subject to one. In one of the funniest parts of the book, she goes on what seems to be a brief tangent about the FOX television show, "The O.C.," (as she did with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in her last book) and then manages to return it, brilliantly, to her discussion on the strange sex/Utopian cult that Charles Guiteau, Garfield's assassin, was a part of for five years. I highly recommend this book to anyone who might be interested in history but is always scared away by the dour, textbook tone of many history books. This book is also written in such a light, humorous, conversational tone that it might even draw the interest of people not usually interested in history. I have never laughed so hard reading a history book. Fans of The Daily Show's "America: The Book," in particular, will find a lot to love here.