New York Times bestselling author Sarah Vowell explores the Puritans and their journey to America in The Wordy Shipmates. Even today, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Vowell investigates what that means -- and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance. Along the way she asks:
• Was Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop a communitarian, a Christ-like Christian, or conformity's tyrannical enforcer? Answer: Yes!
• Was Rhode Island's architect, Roger Williams, America's founding freak or the father of the First Amendment? Same difference.
• What was the Puritans' pet name for the Pope? The Great Whore of Babylon.
Sarah Vowell's special brand of armchair history makes the bizarre and esoteric fascinatingly relevant and fun. She takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. The Wordy Shipmates is rich in historical fact, humorous insight, and social commentary by one of America's most celebrated voices. Thou shalt enjoy it.
Really makes you think
Sure, it may not be as funny as Assassination Vacation, but this book makes you think a lot more about where we are as a country and how we got here in the first place. An incredible read for those who truly wish to know what it means to be American.
My Country, 'Tis of Thee as interpreted by Fugazi
Vowell's mordant, post-modern sensibility; pitch-black wit and genuine love of history never fail to entertain.
Buy This book !
Sarah Vowell is a wickedly funny bookish chick who likes to think out loud. She resists the tendency that so many others give in to, that is as a social critic with an axe to grind. Her takes on John Winthrop and Roger Williams are funny, ironic, and sympathetic. Clearly Ms. Vowell loves her country and its traditions, but is neither afraid to laugh at the sacred or lament their excesses. As I drive each morning to the public education coal mine it is Sarah's well informed voice that accompanies me. Here's hoping this canary continues to sing !