I read Shoal of Time and then listened to this to learn more about Hawaiian history from two perspectives. This book seemed well researched but is unliked by many kama'aina. All the timeline connections and references really helped. I always zoned out in history class - who knew there was a big land grab of the Phillipines, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Cuba in 1898. I am glad I own it so I can listen again; too much in one pass to absorb. The sarcastic wit kept my attention enough to mostly overlook the bit grating timbre in Sara's voice. I recommend it.
true crime fan
I love reading Sarah Vowell books as she is so funny (in a dry, sardonic way) and I always learn things that were never discussed in any of my history classes. While I am really intrigued with learning more about my country's history, so many history-themed books are dry and boring. Sure, I learn things but it is difficult to pay attention when I am reading or listening to a bunch of facts that seem to have no relevence to the present day. Sarah Vowell inserts humorous metaphors and asides to make these "facts" resonate a bit more.
This was not my favorite of her books, but there were some very interesting parts and I learned quite a bit, as usual. Kind of sad to find that once again, the U.S. saw a piece of land and set out to steal it using "manifest destiny" as an excuse to trick the indigenous people into giving away their land for very little or no money based upon promises that would never come to be. If you have never read Sarah Vowell, I definitely recommend reading any of her books.
I have a very solitary job, so I have quite a few hours to listen to books every week. I try to rate this books fairly, as I hate the 1 star or 5 star trend. 5 stars shall be reserved for the best of the best. 3 stars is still a good book to me.
no, very dry book, even more dry reading
there wasn't a performance. it was a very dry reading, with a voice that grated on my ears after a short period
disappointment. Bought it based on Leo Laporte's recomendation on twit. regretted it 5 minutes in.
I'm not sure why this book gets so much praise.
Sarah Vowell just speaks to me. We read this for my book club and some members found her "arrogant" or "flippant"-- like those were BAD things??? OK, maybe she is a bit flippant, but that's her charm. I read this book and listened to it TWICE, so maybe I just "got it" and they didn't.
Aside from her irreverant style (which is why love her writing), her books are filled with wonderful historical facts--things you just did not learn in History class! If you find history dry and boring, give one of Sarah Vowell's books a try.
I would have liked the author to have worked with a native speaker to iron out her horrific pronunciation of the Native Hawai'ian words but, otherwise, I think that Ms. Vowell did a nice job.
I didn't even know this book was about Hawaii when I turned it on. I had just heard Sarah Vowel on NPR and was immediately compelled to get one of her books. This history kept me fascinated from the beginning and turned me into a Sarah Vowell addict. I suddenly feel educated.
Say something about yourself!
I am one of those who had a bad reaction to her voice. If I could give no stars for performance I would have. It did not "grow" on me. Nasally, then, lispy. What is there to "grow" on the listener? Few, very few authors can read their own writing and get away with it. Stephen King can. So can David Sedaris. Indeed David's voice is part of the charm. Not so here. Not so humorous, not so interesting. A great conceit and arrogance of the author in reading her own stuff. A dud for me.
I have quit on only a handful of over 800 books in my Audible library. This, alas, is one of those books. Overrated and much too self consciously precious for me. Save your credits!
Pate au Choux
One of my favorites, smart, funny, engaging. I love Sarah Vowell on This American Life so her reading of her book was extra great, with losts of special guests.
This humor and the history, and it's relevance right now in history.
Her quirky sense of delivery. She can deliver her stories the way she writes them, with quick wit and charm. * some people find her voice grating after a while, I can agree to a certain extent, but I love her delivery that I can't imagine anyone else reading it.
The historical accuracy made me feel smart and funny at the same time. I wish my textbooks in History were all written by her.
Buy it, listen, be smarter.
Entertaining up to a point, but too intertwined with the writer and her own agenda to pass for history. Readers who want to know about the story of Hawaii will be disappointed. Readers who are anxious to learn what Sarah Vowell thinks about lots of things will be satisfied.