Abe Brennan's Reviews > Assassination Vacation

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
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's review
May 17, 2007

really liked it
Read in November, 2005

“Her gift is one of cosmic inclusion—allowing the natural collision of intellect and personality, rigorous research, and generational quirks,” writes the Boston Globe about Sarah Vowell. Certainly Assassination Vacation contains many historical facts, but whether they were gleaned from one or multiple historical and/or reference texts is unclear, as no bibliography—or annotative record of any kind—accompanies this book, which is odd to me, as it purports to be something of a historical work. I say “something of” because it also is a subjective journey on the part of the author, one in which she waxes rhapsodic about a great many things, not all of them having to do with the murders of presidents. We’re treated to musings on culture as well as ideology and interpretive history, and Ms. Vowell’s sharp wit makes this a fun, if occasionally fluffy, journey. I am far from accusing Ms. Vowell of being a charlatan scholar, but I likewise stop short of lauding her for “rigorous research,” at least with respect to this particular work. But there is no denying it: this is a droll book, despite (or maybe because of) its subject matter, and this is due to several factors, one of which being I can’t imagine a period of time where I thought about an American President’s being assassinated as much as I have over the last six and a half years.
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