Great subject completely mishandled. Three flaws: (1)the narration makes this impossible to listen to. Authors with this type whiney voice should never mar their works by wanting to deliver them verbally. (2)The material was presented in a haphazard and unconnected manner. If the author had an organization to it, it never came out. (3) The senseless political repartee scattered throughout the book was childish.
This plain-spoken, dead pan humorist takes you by surprise in a similar way that David Sedaris does. There is absolutely nothing flashy about her, and her cracks are delivered with as straight a face as her cold hard facts about the killing of presidents. I found myself wondering how she ever got people to listen to her in the first place. Thank goodness someone did! She is proof that not just the obnoxious, crude or outrageous can capture the spotlight.
This book will teach you as well as entertain you. It will endear you to the author as much as it endears you to Lincoln; it will also turn you against Wm. McKinley, who may rival Bush for his love of violence and manipulation.
If you enjoy Sedaris, books that take you on a literal journey like those of Bill Bryson or Michael Palin, or Jon Stewart's America, this should be your next book. So why 4 stars? Honestly, this book is a notch below some of the aforementioned.
This book should not be in the history section as the author relies too much on her personal bias to convey the stories in the book. Her voice is also very annoying after about thirty minutes as it sounds like a valley girl. I wanted to learn more about the assassinations not about her feelings regarding plaques on historic buildings.
Smart, funny and very, very droll. The audio book features a number of guest voices (Stephen King, Jon Stewart). This book is entertaining from beginning to end.
Horrible narration...far left perspective...occasionally interesting anecdotes. Only determined effort got me through this stinker. Would not recommend.
I found the bits of trivia entertaining, but I would have rather read it than listened to it.
I enjoyed Sarah on NPR, but in this book her reading was dry and there was no emphasis to those lines that would've read as quirky and humorous. Depending on the section it would either bore me or annoy me, instead of pull me into the story.
I might be interested, but I would read it instead.
It's not a problem with the story, but instead with the narration.
After hearing about this book on "Stuff you Missed in History", I was intrigued by the overall concept of it. However, I didn't realize this would read like an actual travel diary, throwing in personal information and strewn together tangents. What I was really hoping for what a deeper historical recollection written more like a research paper as opposed to someone's notes from a trip. Before recommending it to someone, I will explain what this tome entails, it was not for me, but some others may approve.
The narrator is the author of the book, which makes you feel like you are at a dinner party listening to all of her accounts on her trip around the Northeast. I thought it was distracting especially adding in her first hand tales. Her voice is one you have to get used to.
I had so hoped that this book would be right up my alley.
And I think that the subject matter IS - but unfortunately as an audiobook, I could barely get through it.
The "narrated by" lists Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart and others. However the book is actually narrated by Sarah Vowell. The celebrities are just special guests. I know that having authors narrate their own books is a popular thing to do - but this is just not her forte. She reads the book incredibly slowly (1.5x speed made it manageable, though) and her voice just isn't pleasant for hours upon hours of reading.
The subject matter is interesting and the stories compelling...but she does give PLENTY of her own opinion. Too much, in my thinking, for this type of book, but perhaps that is her style. Lots of comments about President Bush (that seem to come out of nowhere and don't fit the book) and some rather high & mighty views of well...most everything other than NYC.
I finished listening simply because I had paid good money for the book and wanted to hear all the stories. But I say pass on this book. There are better ones out there about the subject. At best, read it, don't listen.
I got sucked in by the reviews; I'll read them more closely next time.
After a brief introduction to this travelogue, one is treated to a generous dose of gratuitous Bush bashing. I hadn't realized that this was book was going to have a political side editorial. Nevertheless,the reviews lead me to listen through the first half; whereupon I found MS Vogel's reading style truly annoying. The content consists of an endless cataloging of insignificant trivia related to a subject of even less interest. I'm sure there were some interesting historical facts along the way, but by that time I was so tuned out that I gave up half way through the Garfield episode. There are some humorous metaphors scattered throughout, but I suspect that unless you are of the liberal persuasion, you will find much of the "humor" grating. Politics aside, the subject matter isn't worth the time or effort. You can put your listening time to better use.