Adam's Reviews > Assassination Vacation

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Feb 03, 2010

really liked it
Read from February 03 to March 17, 2010

This was a really fun read. I think I learned more interesting history while reading this book than I did in my entire time at highschool. The author tells you the things you want to know about why people decide to become assassins and the circumstances under which they happen rather than go on for page after page of how the death of Abraham Lincoln changed the country. She mentions that of course but you never feel hit over the head with it.

Another thing that I liked about the book was that I realized that my obsession with collectimg comic books pales in comparison with her efforts to collect totally insane historical artifacts like replicas of the Lincoln totem pole (yes there really is one) and locks of John Brown's hair.

But it's not just the history that makes this entertaining, she throws in plenty of references to things like the Sex Pistols and her three year old nephew shouting from behind a historical tomstone "This is a great Halloween park!".

There are a few things that I wish were more detailed in the book. I wanted her to talk more about the current theories of the motivation behind the assassinations. I don't think I recall her mentioning that John Wilkes Booth might have had syphillis so advanced that it could have been in his brain by the time he shot Lincoln. I also wanted to know more about the Garfield administration and what it meant for him to be dead. She did make a good case for comparison of the McKinley administration to the second Bush(person not term) administration.

Something I wish there was less of was gorey descriptions of body parts in jars and things like that. But those descriptions were fascinating in their own morbid way.

The best thiing about the book might have been the weird randomness of certain historical events. Prior to reading this book I never would have thought that bible sex cults could have anything to do with changing the course of history and boy was I wrong. I also learned that there is such a thing as a presidential assassination cameo threepeat. If I am ever elected president, keep Robert Todd Lincoln the hell away from me!


Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Assassination Vacation.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Colleen Spoilers?

Adam well i suppose that you know the presidents all got shot but I dont think that many people will know about the Mckinley/Bush connection or that there is a bible sex cult in this or that there are gorey descriptions of body parts floating in jars. I mean I knew none of that stuff was in this so if someone had told me about it I wouldn't have read the book.

message 3: by Adela (new)

Adela I agree. No spoilers. Your tidbits might tempt people to read the book, not really knowing what it's about.

Colleen Yeah, you piqued my interest at "bible sex cult" -- I'll have to read this book now.

Adam Colleen I think you will like it. It's damn funny and has a lot of weird stuff in it. It can get a little politcal at times though but since it more or less lined up with my politics I was ok with that. Adela you would like it if you skipped over the gore, seriously.

message 6: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Sign me up! Excellent review.

back to top