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Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
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Assassination Vacation (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Sarah Vowell

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3,6131251,458 (4.04)187
Member:joelhagan
Title:Assassination Vacation
Authors:Sarah Vowell
Info:Simon & Schuster (2006), Paperback, 258 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
If you like quirky humor and little known historical tidbits and if the idea of visiting grave sites, memorial plaques and house museums doesn't bore you witless, this is a book for you. Sarah Vowell takes us on a journey through the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley and we emerge better informed about American history and with a new perspective on the America of today. I listened to an audio performance in which Vowell's talented friends such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert play the roles of historical figures. Highly entertaining and enjoyable. ( )
  rglossne | Jun 3, 2015 |
I found this quite hard to follow, partially due to my complete ignorance of American history and partially because the book is written in a fairly 'stream of consciousness' style. ( )
  cazfrancis | Mar 20, 2015 |
I am about two thirds of my way through this one. Borrowed this book from a friend that highly recommended it as something that he thought I would enjoy. My initial impression of the author and her writing style is she is an impudent, erudite, febrile poster child of the liberal gum chewing American teenager. She bounces all over the place in her stream of conscience style narrative and frequently throws out random trivia that has nothing to do with the subject at hand. I think she would be a hoot to travel with her random facts and very different view point.
She does point out she gave up Christianity and religion and in its place she has adopted American patriotism.
She does show she lacks some understanding of the differences between how culture and society in past times differed dramatically from the present. That takes a lot of immersive study to get a hold of so I don’t really hold that against her a great deal but some of her conclusions about people might have been different had she had a fuller understanding of their times. It is so tempting though to judge the past through our present mores and standards because that is what we are so used to doing.

This was more entertainment than history though I must admit the last half was pretty interesting as she talked about several people and incidents I was not familiar with.
( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
This was a re-read for me. I adore Sarah Vowell and this is one of my favorites. I laughed out loud when she explained the 'grandfather paradox'. ( )
  Willow1972 | Feb 8, 2015 |
I loved this book. I listened to the audio version, which has the added advantage of Ms. Vowell's voice and flat expression to add to her writing. She writes of American history with an original, interesting perspective. ( )
  baobab | Jan 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Vowellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dzama, MarcelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levinthal, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olender, JeanetteDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
In the Middle Ages, relics spawned a continentwide craze. Devotees packed their bags and streamed out of towns and villages, thronging the pilgrimage trails. For most, a journey to see the relic of St. Thomas or St. James offered the only valid excuse for leaving home. -Anneli Rufu Magnificent Corpses
Dedication
First words
One night last summer, all the killers in my head assembled on a stage in Massachusetts to sing show tunes.
Quotations
Going to Ford's Theatre to watch the play is like going to Hooters for the food.
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Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine the abridged audiobook of Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation with the unabridged full text of that work. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 074326004X, Paperback)

Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other -- a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.

From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue -- it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and -- the author's favorite -- historical tourism. Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are all kinds of lighter diversions along the way into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A tour of key historic sites in America where incidents of political violence have occurred reveals lesser-known points of interest pertaining to each and shares information about how history has been shaped by popular culture and tourism.

(summary from another edition)

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