Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Well-Executed History

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

I love Sarah Vowell. This is my favorite of any of her work so far, aside from maybe her 1998 This American Life segment about her foray into New York subculture as a pink Goth.

I think one of the things I love most about Sarah Vowell is that you can tell she actually really cares about American history and good citizenship, in spite of her fine-tuned deadpan sarcasm and glib pop-culture references. She avoids the trap of seeming too disaffected or cynical, and instead fully embraces the camp of things like the free-love, cultish origins of the Oneida company, and Stephen Sondheim's Assassins musical with its heart-wrenching ballads performed by dramatized presidential murderers.

As a bonus, Assassination Vacation may have taught me more about the nuances of Reconstruction politics than anything I ever read in school. Love the book, love Sarah Vowell, and recommend her to anyone who likes a little bite with their U.S. history!

Rachel - Programs

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review! I’ve been meaning to read Assassination Vacation for years now- hopefully I’ll get to it soon. I've only made it through Take the Cannoli: Stories from the New World- funny essays with some food for thought. -Jenny, Children’s Dept.