Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Book learning #8.
Assassination Vacation: Sarah Vowell.
Two books by the same author in succession?
In this case it's because I was at a wee bit of a loss following the end of "The Partly Cloudy Patriot".
I tried to read a couple of other things but failed miserably (you can read about the failures when I publish my 'books that failed me and I hate them for it' list at the end of the year.)
There I was in the large corporate bookstore in Union Square (Oh how I wish 'BookCourt' or the 'Community Bookstore' would satisfy all my literary needs!) when I glanced upon it, picked it up and was hooked.
Or was I?
This was a slow burner but in it's way quite the perfect read. It took me a while to get through it although much of that was due to circumstances (visitors from out of town, redecorating the apartment, losing the book under the bed for three days, less subway travel of late etc etc.)
If I may compare it to her previous work I will, This is meatier. She deals with three assasinations and she deals with them in varying degrees of depth. Lincoln gets the bulk of the deal and the others, Garfield and McKinley also get fairly substantial treatment. The nice thing about Vowell is that she comes at the subject from just, sort of, over there, kinda. She brings in contemporia such as the recent Broadway show 'Assassins' (Is that still running? Anyone wanna go?) and the War in Iraq as well as filling your head with a cool overview of post Civil War domestic politics. Even as a History buff I had little idea about the different factions in the Republican Party of the late nineteenth century. One of the key aspects of the book and the succession of the three assassinations (which occurred within 40 years of each other) is how the Republican Party of Lincoln changed into what was to become the Republican Party of Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes.
And all this happens in a neat little book that you can pick up for under $20 and read, circumsatnces permitting, in less than a week.