Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Book review: The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell takes another stab at American History, this time focusing on colonial New England. She follows the turbulent journey of the "saints" from England to Massachusetts, and takes us along with them as they bicker their way into forming Rhode Island and Connecticut.

For those living in Rhode Island, Roger Williams is hard to miss, but Vowell goes into a bit more detail than the National Parks Service. It's a roller coaster ride, but it's nice to learn more about Williams than just that he founded the first colony dedicated to religious freedom.

We walk in snowy exile with Anne Hutchinson to Portsmouth, and witness the Pequot War with the wry humor of 350 years' worth of hindsight.

Most of the history is well-researched and fleshed out in vivid detail. However, the end of the book seems slapped on, as if she were in a hurry to finish.

I found this book less funny than her other books, Take the Cannoli, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and my favorite, Assassination Vacation. Still, it's a good time and a quick read.

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