Sarah Vowell is an exquisite story-teller, who brings the characters to life with vivid descriptions and keeps the reader interested with her comical wit. If 'The Wordy Shipmates' was only that, I would have given it five stars instead of three. Unfortunately Vowell frames history with glib, partisan conservative bashing, offhandedly condemning the slaughter of Pequod (Native American tribe) women and children by vengeful New Englanders in the same breath as the US entry into both world wars, Korea and Iraq. The author--and the reader--would have been better served if Vowell had limited herself to history and made her political points with facts rather than partisan diatribes.
Only Sarah Vowell can restore intellectual prowess to the name 'Sarah' that the other Sarah takes out.
Ms Vowell's books always end too soon.
Sarah Vowell does a great job of making history entertaining. I assume that the detail is accurate, since this is non-fiction. She really weaves the intrigue and relationships in to the story, and does a wonderful job of tying some analogies to current day. It really makes you think. And laugh. LOTs of LOL. I also really enjoy her and the entire crew as narrators.
First of all, Sarah Vowell has a fun voice to listen to, which makes what could be a rather dull topic a little more fun. If you're a history buff, you'll like this!
...and her quirky brain. An American history junkie, she is without equal in bringing the past alive with her droll reading, her sharp wit, and her command of details. Who can explicate better than she the interdependence of religion, politics, philosophy, and weather? Her research must have been relentless: her thorough grasp of primary sources and how they link together make it seem as though the research was as much fun as a proverbial barrel of primates. What's astounding is how she makes history fun for the reader as well.
The past is prologue, no one reminds us of this better than Vowell.
Great read. Sarah's voice takes a bit of getting used to, but anyone who loves American history will love this book!
Not if Sarah read her own work
My jaw dropping upon hearing the reader's voice
The writing is very good. But I cannot believe that ANYONE would LET Sarah waste Audible customer's money by allowing her to narrate her work. PLEASE, someone tell this woman she has a voice that no one over the age of 5 can stand to listen to. I wanted my money back upon hearing her voice. I will never buy another book narrated by her.
with the audio direction on this one? Vowell's narration was repeatedly interrupted by another reader when she quoted one of the historical characters. Yes, I get it, but some phrases were literally 1 or 2 words. It wasn't easy to get through it.
Semi retired small business person/ college professor/ investor.
This book is roughly equal thirds of history, clever and funny comments on that history, and the author's comments on modern political events in light of the history. The first is interesting, the second is entertaining, and the third you just hold your nose and get through.
The political circumstances in and surrounding the founding of the Massachusetts colony and the players in it are an important and very often misunderstood part of our history. This book has interesting insights to the period and personnel of early Boston. The author makes numerous clever comments about the happenings of the time and strange way we commemorate things.
If you were not already aware that the original Native Americans fared very poorly at the hands of the conquering Europeans this book will set you straight. Much of that information provided in regards to Indian treatment is not really related to the subject at hand.
The author's commentary on how little we actually teach history and the sanitized and grossly inaccurate portrayals that are popular culture is humorous for a while but gets tedious after a while. One more mention of the Brady Bunch sitcom would have done me in.
Finally the commentary on modern politics is typical liberal academia stuff. The conservatives are a bunch of idiots and the left are the second coming of god, that is if the author believed in god, which she tells us on no uncertain terms that she does not. If you are interested on how both the right and the left have misused the rights of the American people listen to "Legacy of Ashes". Listen to this book if you want to learn about Early New England. The political stuff is the price you have to pay to get the knowledge. It is a shame this could have been a really good book.
After listening to it I was left wondering - what was Sarah's point? What does she want the take-away to be for this book? It is more like a history book that has no point other then relaying the facts of history. No commentary or take on what went on to show Sarah's opinion on the Puritans as a whole. I don't even understand what made her feel particularly compelled to write about this topic. Perhaps she should think about writing text books instead?
I like Sarah's sense of humor and it is really the only reason this subject matter was tolerable.