Dec 28, 08
Read in December, 2008
This was a fine book! Sarah Vowell is a cross between Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jon Stewart and Wednesday Addams. Her knowledge AND love of her topic are clear. I started wondering if she would just make each stop on her bizarre journey a punch line but found something quite different: a fine discussion of events surrounding the people and places involved in the assassination of three presidents: Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. And did I learn stuff... Such rich information framed by her odd obsessions and quirky wit. She drags her reluctant but loyal friends and family on this odd journey making her story more endearing: who hasn't tried to enlist our closest friends and family to enter our own odd little world of obsessions? My favorite part was her musings at the end of the book: Comparing her love and obsession with history to the religion she rejected. She sees the blurred lines between the two and perhaps deep in her heart hopes to reconcile. Who knows how that will turn out? What I am most grateful for is that she makes it clear that within the soul of a progressive, liberal-minded thinker beats the heart of a true patriot honestly and deeply stirred by the sight of the Lincoln Memorial, the historical plaques and war memorials and all they represent. This was indeed a fine book.