Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Finds 10/24/08

My list is quite short this week. I hate to admit it, but I've been so busy that I've been skimming the blogs in my Google Reader rather than actually reading them. Of course that means that I find fewer books that catch my eye. The result? I have just one title to share with you this week.

The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell

To this day, 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? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and-corn reputation might suggest. 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 Christlike 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 does it take to get that jezebel Anne Hutchinson to shut up? A hatchet.
~ 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, where “righteousness” is rhymed with “wilderness,” to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. Throughout, 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.

What do you think? Does this sound interesting to anyone else?

To read what everyone else found this week, click here.


Anonymous said...

I'm sitting on the fence on this one - I've read good and bad reviews of it.

Anonymous said...

I quite liked this one, so I'd say to go for it!

Shana said...

I just read a review of this one on Fyrefly's Book Blog a few days ago.


Lisa said...

I just added a different book of hers to my wishlist, but of course can not think of the name of it to save my life. This one doesn't really interest me, based on your post.

Anonymous said...

Well it doesn't sound interesting to me no but to each his or her own right? I just posted my friday finds.

Beth A. said...

I've been a big fan of Sarah Vowell since I first heard her on public radio, so I've really been looking forward to this book. Her previous history book, Assassination Vacation was a lot of fun. She's funny and insightful, and does a good job of describing history in an enjoyable way. I'm also particularly interested in this subject matter because so many of my ancestors were Puritans.

The Daily Rant said...


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