The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell

This is the last Sarah Vowell review for a while, I promise! It turns out that I can only take so much of the same kind of book. Also, I didn’t like this one very much, which is disappointing because I actually own the print version, but which is less disappointing because I only paid a dollar for it.

Anyway, this book is Sarah Vowell doing her Sarah-Vowell-iest to describe early Puritan America, specifically the set of Puritans that came over in 1630 to form the Massachusetts Bay Colony. There’s lots of stuff about religion, of course, and Indian relations, but mostly what I remember is the politics (of course) and the fine lines everyone had to walk to attempt to make this whole colony thing work.

And this is interesting, sure, but unfortunately it seems that I am less intrigued by Puritan politics in the 1630s than I am about current politics and presidential assassinations, and so I must admit that I didn’t pay that much attention to this audiobook. Well, except when Vowell went on her tangents — I will forever be amused by the idea of her explaining to her small nephew why the Puritans were still killing the Indians long after the “first Thanksgiving.” Poor kid; his aunt is ruining everything for him!

Also, I may try actually reading this one again in the future; I think that part of my problem here was the fact that I know so much less about this aspect of history than I do about presidents and politics, and so I kept getting all the Johns confused, among other difficulties. Maybe if I can flip back and forth to remember who everyone is, I’ll have a better time of it? Eh, give me a year or so and we’ll see. 🙂

Recommendation: For history lovers who don’t mind a little whimsy in their historical narratives.

Rating: 7/10

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