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The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
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The Wordy Shipmates (2008)

by Sarah Vowell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,0861203,168 (3.65)238
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Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
Funny ( )
  mgriel | Jan 18, 2016 |
There is interesting insight here into the American puritan ethic, sometimes enhanced by Vowell's personal tangents and sometimes weakened by them. Yeah, Sarah, we know women didn't have rights in the 17th century. Spare us the rant. ( )
  wdwilson3 | Jan 17, 2016 |
enjoyed the style of the author, but couldn't get into the subject matter. will try a different work in the near future. ( )
  cyrenitis | Dec 2, 2015 |
I laughed only twice...I didn't realize that the book was only a study of Puritanism. I was hoping for more about the everyday life in 1630's Boston.
~Stephanie ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Sarah Vowell recounts at one point in this book that many people, upon hearing that she was researching the Puritans, simply asked- why? This brief, concise history speaks for itself to answer that question. Vowell mines the archives to construct a compelling history of the early development of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She makes great efforts to link her work to the development of 21st-century American society. Her dry wit adds greatly to the quality of the book. It gave me many new insights into Puritan and Pilgrim life and further fleshed out important historical figures who helped shape American ideology in the 17th century as well as today. ( )
  mfedore | Apr 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
Maybe there's something to be said for learning about the pilgrims, after all—especially from an instructor as entertaining as Vowell.
added by sduff222 | editBitch Magazine, Kelsey Wallace (Mar 28, 2011)
 
As always with Vowell, her commentary is apt and frequently, startlingly
insightful. I would suggest that this book might well be used as
a sort of introductory text to the ideas of the Puritans particularly for
undergraduates. Because she engages so cleverly with popular culture,
it may help provide a successful approach to the dense and highly
intellectualized writing of this group of Puritans. For the nonspecialist
in this period, the book could serve as a reminder of what continues to
be so fascinating about the ideas of the New England Puritans of the
seventeenth century and the impact their thought continues to have in
popular discourse.
added by sduff222 | editReviews in Religion and Theology, Mary Coleman (Sep 1, 2009)
 
Sarah Vowell is a problem. She’s a problem like Sarah Palin, Cyndi Lauper and Kathy Griffin. She’s annoying. Or, really, she’s double-annoying, because she styles herself as annoying — provocative-annoying — and if you become annoyed by her you seem to be conceding the point. She’s gotten to you.

Take “The Wordy Shipmates,” her fifth book. Vowell has integrated her sarcasm, flat indie-girl affect and kitsch worship — refined in print and on public radio — into a pop history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Known for her adenoid-helium voice, Vowell is a genial talker but an undisciplined writer. This new book mixes jiggers of various weak liquors — paraphrase, topical one-liners, blogger tics — and ends up tasting kind of festive but bad, like Long Island iced tea.
 
Drawing on letters, essays, and sermons, Vowell offers a penetrating look at the tensions between John Winthrop, John Cotton, Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and others as they argued about the role of religion in government and everyday life. They saw themselves as God's chosen people, a credo that set the tone for American history and notions of manifest destiny that have led to all manner of imposition on other lands and cultures. But they also vehemently debated separation of church and state and founded Harvard, even as they pondered the destiny of what Winthrop referred to as the "shining city on the hill "A book dense with detail, insight, and humor.
added by sduff222 | editBooklist, Vanessa Bush (Oct 1, 2008)
 
At times dense, at times silly, at times surpassingly wise.
added by sduff222 | editKirkus Reviews (Aug 1, 2008)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Vowellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dzama, MarcelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laroche, NicoleDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levinthal, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seow, JackieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Jeffrey L.Map artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
But oh! shipmates! on the starboard hand of every woe, there is a sure delight. . . Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges. Delight, —top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven.

—Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Dedication
For Scott Seeley, Ted Thompson, and Joan Kim
First words
The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief. And by dangerous I don't mean thought-provoking. I mean: might get people killed.
Quotations
I'm always disappointed when I see the word "Puritan" tossed around as shorthand for a bunch of generic, boring, stupid, judgmental killjoys. Because to me, they are very specific, fascinating, sometimes brilliant, judgmental killjoys who rarely agreed on anything except that Catholics are going to hell.
Behind every bad law, a deep fear.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but author Vowell investigates what that means--and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and-corn reputation might suggest. The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance.… (more)

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