Rachel's Reviews > The Wordy Shipmates

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
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's review
Nov 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, history, booky-babes-club
Read in June, 2009

For some reason, I thought this book was going to be about language, but it was actually about Puritans. Having absorbed very few historical facts from my now twenty-two years (!) in school, I appreciated this book as an engaging and thorough look at the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I really did learn a lot. I was especially impressed with Roger Williams, who was even more severe than his fellow Puritans and was banished to what is now Rhode Island, but who was centuries ahead of his time in social thought, calling for separation of church and state, the rights of the Indians to their own land, and racial equality in general. Of course, he did help to facilitate the massacre of 600 Pequot, but oh well.

My favorite thing about the book was how Vowell drew connections between disparate elements, especially in showing the implications of those people and events for the future of America. My least favorite thing was that she is so chatty sometimes, and some of the connections (an Eminem song?) are just annoying and irrelevant.
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