The Wordy Shipmates (Penguin, $25.95) is, in effect, a sort of grandiose footnote to a pair of Puritan sermons. If that fails to suggest a wonderfully promiscuous romp through colonial theology, frontier warfare, and American pop culture of the ’70s and ’80s, you are unacquainted with Sarah Vowell. Drawing on primary sources and short-lived sitcoms, Vowell reveals “the shipmates” to be far stranger and more interesting than our dour caricature of the Puritans suggests: rugged (communitarians), cerebral (fundamentalists), and armed-to-the-teeth (pragmatists). Along the way, she excavates tropes of American rhetoric like “the shining city on a hill” and reanimates the world of ideas that produced them. This effort hints at an alternate history where American exceptionalism is less an applause line than a spur to self-criticism and self-sacrifice.
The Wordy Shipmates - Sarah Vowell
Submitted by lluncheon on Tue, 2015-12-22 11:52
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - October 6th, 2009