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Assassination Vacation

Assassination Vacation

Geschrieben von Sarah Vowell

Erzählt von Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien und Stephen King


Assassination Vacation

Geschrieben von Sarah Vowell

Erzählt von Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien und Stephen King

Bewertungen:
4/5 (91 Bewertungen)
Länge:
7 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Apr 4, 2005
ISBN:
9780743550291
Format:
Hörbuch

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Beschreibung

Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other--a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.
From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue--it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and--the author's favorite--historical tourism.
Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are lighter diversions into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult.
IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
Conan O'Brien Robert Todd Lincoln
Eric Bogosian John Wilkes Booth
Stephen King President Abraham Lincoln
Dave Eggers Mike Ryan
Catherine Keener Gretchen Worden
Jon Stewart President James A. Garfield
Tony Kushner John Humphrey Noyes
Brad Bird Charles Guiteau & Emma Goldman
Daniel Handler President William McKinley
Greg Giraldo President Theodore Roosevelt
David Rakoff Leon Czolgosz
Freigegeben:
Apr 4, 2005
ISBN:
9780743550291
Format:
Hörbuch

Auch als verfügbar...

Auch als buch verfügbarBuch

Über den Autor

Called "a national treasure" by David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell has been a contributing editor to public radio’s This American Life since 1996. She is also the author of the bestsellers Take the Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot.


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  • (3/5)
    Amusing investigations of the geography and history of the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. What is sometimes called "tidbit-ing through history", interesting stories and footnotes are added the the basic story, to make the retelling of the events more entertaining, by descriptions of plaques, statues and historic sites. Several profiles of people, such as the assassins or presidents, are snarky and entertaining. A good afternoon's read, or on a trip, or at the beach.
  • (5/5)
    OMG! Thanks sis for the recommendation! I was hesitant to read this but Sarah Vowell is a GREAT storyteller. I love her facts on the presidents and her stories from her travels.
  • (3/5)
    Hard to explain, but I think I probably would've loved this book 10 years ago.
  • (5/5)
    If you had told me that I would read and enjoy a book about presidential assassinations, I would have said you were crazy. My preferred genres are chick lit and historical fiction. But, I loved Assassination Vacation! I decided to give this a try after seeing so many good reviews, and reading the first few pages on Amazon.com. I was laughing from the very beginning, and couldn't wait to read more. So much so, that I didn't want to wait to get it from Amazon, and went down to my local Borders to buy it that same day. I read it in just two days.It was funny and snarky in the tradition of Jen Lancaster and Laurie Notaro, with the added bonus of actual historical facts. Like all of us, I knew the basic facts of Lincoln's assassination, but I didn't know some of the more interesting details. And I knew nothing about McKinley's and Garfield's assassinations - what I had learned in school didn't stick with me. But, now after reading this book, I know a lot more, and I think I'll remember it, because it was so entertaingly told.For me, President Garfield will now always be Mr. Loner McBookworm. LOL! And Robert Todd Lincoln will be Jinxy McDeath.I highly recommend this book. Even if you think this isn't your cup of tea, give it a try. It'll be worth it.
  • (5/5)
    Wildly funny and interesting.
  • (4/5)
    Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation skims across the surface of history by taking the reader on third-party tours of historic sites. The book focuses on the assassinations of presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, but almost all of it is about Lincoln. (In my paperback, Lincoln gets 98 pages, Garfield gets 62, and McKinley gets 46.) Which may be fair--there are probably a lot more sites to visit related to Lincoln's life and death than anyone else's. But if you're looking for a history lesson on any of these men, this is not the book for you.Lincoln gets not only the most real estate in the book, but he also get the most sentiment. The author begins by catching a play at Ford Threatre and walking down to the Lincoln Memorial afterward. She admires the monument and reflects on the meaning of Lincoln's words engraved on the walls. She draws comparisons to modern history and thinks about how Lincoln's actions and death have influenced our world. From here, she gives a brief account of Lincoln's assassination and the actions leading up to it, interspersed with conversations with tour guides. The tour guides seem to be authorities on the little patches of land that they represent, but Vowell doesn't cite any other sources and doesn't mention fact checking anything these first-name-only guides say.Vowell does find some pretty obscure Lincoln sites to visit. She goes to his home, the place of his assassination, the house where John Wilkes Booth stopped after fleeing, even the prison where that house's owner was condemned, and many other places. But the information she gleans is all pretty shallow. Even in the "I didn't know that!" moments, I felt hesitation, like I needed to Google it before telling anyone else about it.When she moves onto Garfield, the biggest point she makes is, "Who cares about Garfield?!" I actually just read a wonderful and in-depth biography of Garfield, so my response was a full-throated, "I do!" This was the most frustrating section for me because I have a higher-than-average knowledge and appreciation of Garfield after reading Destiny of the Republic, and Assassination Vacation brings no new information to the table. In fact, it's so scant on details, that if you can name Garfield's assassin off the top of your head, then you probably don't have much to learn here.The Garfield section blends directly into the McKinley section so quickly I didn't realize we were done with Garfield yet. I don't know nearly as much about McKinley as I do about Garfield (or Lincoln), but I still thought this section was too light. Maybe the nation was so exhausted by the time McKinley was assassinated that they didn't feel it necessary to dedicate a bunch of tourist sites to him? Maybe. That would explain why this section is so short and light.Sarah Vowell can be very funny (and, yes, a bit humble-braggy), and some of the characters she encounters on the way are quite interesting. But this is neither a history book nor a biography, despite being shelved that way. This is a travelogue or a humorous travel memoir. It reveals a lot more about the author than about any of the presidents, and I think the author's larger point has more to do with the quirks of American culture anyway. I think if you know that going in, you'll probably like this book--especially if you have a plane trip or beach vacation coming up. It's light, at times silly, and very softly macabre, but it's not historic.
  • (4/5)
    Even if you're not particularly interested in presidential assassinations, Sarah Vowell's writes well enough to draw the reader into the lives of people in power, people who want power, and people who just want to walk where those historical figures once walked. Originally published in 2005, this book contains enough contemporary political references to feel slightly dated, but it holds up well overall.
  • (5/5)
    Really loved the enthusiasm Sarah Vowell has for finding historical trivia, oddities, and markers related to the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley -- including trips to hometowns, assassination sites, and cemeteries. Lots of humor and interesting tidbits, as well as insights looking back on these tragic murders that occurred all within several decades ... and all of which Lincoln's son, Richard Todd Lincoln was close by! Written during George W.'s war in Iraq, Vowell also expresses her displeasure with the then-current president, which I did not mind since I agree with her stance/assessment.
  • (4/5)
    Sarah Vowell is a nerdy history buff. Some might consider me nerdy as well, but I am far, far from a history buff. Typically the only type of history book that I can get through is one of historical fiction, where the author can get away with some embellishments while telling a good story. But I'd heard good things about Sarah Vowell, so I tried this one, in which Vowell elaborates on the assassinations of three American Presidents: Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. Most everyone knows something about Lincoln's assassination, but Garfield's & McKinley's deaths are more obscure. I read this on audio (read by the author), and while Vowell's distinctive-sounding voice initially grated on my nerves, I soon came to appreciate her wit & deadpan humor, and now I can't imagine it being read by anyone but herself. Not only did I enjoy learning about these particular bits of history, but I now want to get in my car and go travel to all of the well-known and not-so-well-known locations that Vowell described in her book. I think I sincerely have a new appreciation for all of those roadside signs and plaques memorializing such moments in history -- plaques which I previously tended to glance over quickly without much thought. This particular book of Vowell's seems to be one of her best, based on other reviews, but I intend to seek out her others as well. Audio format recommended!
  • (5/5)
    This was a re-read for me. I adore Sarah Vowell and this is one of my favorites. I laughed out loud when she explained the 'grandfather paradox'.
  • (2/5)
    I thought that this book would be an interesting concept ~ and it was, just not my cup of tea. Her humor did not appeal to me.
  • (4/5)
    Assassination Vacation is another one of those jewels I picked up on a Kindle Daily Deal. I jumped on the offer because I so enjoyed Unfamiliar Fishes a couple of years ago.I think I enjoyed both of Sarah Vowell's books because I think she might be my twin. My much younger, quite a bit funnier twin that stops to read all the historical markers wherever she goes like me. She's the one who does all the cool things I always wanted to do like write great non-fiction books that bring to light details about historic events that you might not even know about and she gets to travel to cool places to do it.In Assassination Vacation, Vowell compiles a travelogue describing places she's visited associated with three Presidential murders--Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. Now think about it--when's the last time you read a good book on the McKinley assassination? That's just one good reason you should read this book. (And if you just asked yourself "Did we really have a President McKinley?" that's another.)Accompanying her on her jaunts through museums and graveyards are her sister and especially lovable nephew. Her stories about them bring a personal touch to the book as do her stories about her personal history. The way she weaves the stories of her travels, her family, her politics, and the Presidents makes for a cant-put-it-down book, evidenced by the fact that I finished it in 5 days--way shorter than my usual several months average.If you're looking to learn interesting stuff told in a funny way, you need to read this book. Highly recommended!
  • (3/5)
    Not my favorite of Vowell's books, but still very enjoyable. For some reason I didn't connect with this one as much as her other two audiobooks that I've listened to so far, Unfamiliar Fishes (probably my favorite) and The Wordy Shipmates. But Vowell's deadpan delivery and sarcastic humor is still in full force here; I highly recommend her audiobooks, even if they are abridged.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoy Sarah Vowell so I also enjoyed this book. It is her telling of her obsession with historical, esp. presidential, assassinations. In this book she tells all about the Lincoln, Garfield, & McKinley assassinations as she "vacations" at all the historic places that tell of these events. With her sense of deadpan humor, she makes this information humorous as well as educational.
  • (4/5)
    Sarah Vowell is a history buff. And not just a history buff, but one fascinated by political assassinations, specifically Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley.In Assassination Vacation, Vowell takes her readers on a wry, reverent, fascinating journey to various landmarks, big and small, that somehow featured in the lives and deaths of assassinated American presidents. She searches out plaques, (sort of) climbs mountains, and tallies up every presidential assassination Robert Todd Lincoln was somehow an observer of (the final tally is all three).Along the way, she sees the musical "Assassins" (and scares off strangers with just how much she loves it), gets seasick on a boat ride to the prison where Lincoln assassination conspirators were held, discusses the idea that maybe John Wilkes Booth really did escape (and was then mummified after death, with his corpse being toured around carnivals), and visits the spot where the Oneida Community used to reside (a group marriage Biblical commune where Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, once lived).This is the kind of book you want to give to students who think history is boring. It will definitely change their minds.
  • (4/5)
    If you like quirky humor and little known historical tidbits and if the idea of visiting grave sites, memorial plaques and house museums doesn't bore you witless, this is a book for you. Sarah Vowell takes us on a journey through the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley and we emerge better informed about American history and with a new perspective on the America of today. I listened to an audio performance in which Vowell's talented friends such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert play the roles of historical figures. Highly entertaining and enjoyable.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting and funny which is hard to do when you are covering assassinations....
  • (4/5)
    This is a book my wife and I listened to as we drive to doctor appointments, visited children, etc., so it took us a while to get through it completely. That is not to denigrate the book, which is wonderfully entertaining and educational. Ben (GR) and I have exchanged emails recently about whether listening to an audiobook can be considered "reading." This is a case where I think the book is actually better listened to since it's read by the author who has such a gravely and droll way of reading. It's delightful.

    Vowell's description of staying in a bed and breakfast is priceless. It mirrors a stay my wife and I had where the other couple at breakfast bragged about the shooting club and contests at her son's school. Good liberals that we are, my wife asked who paid for all of that? "Why, the NRA, of course," was the reply. We couldn't wait to stuff down the sausages and get the hell out of there. Next bed and breakfast we go to I intend to get a certified letter attesting to the political affiliation of all the guests. Then, of course, there's always Super-8 as an alternative.

    Lots of fascinating detail. I had no idea that the Virginia motto, sic semper tyrannis was yelled by John Wilkes Booth as he leeaped on to the stage after shooting Lincoln and that motto was worn on T-shirts by supporters of Timothy McVeigh along with assorted Confederate flags and symbols.

    One learns a great deal too. For example, Dr. Samuel Mudd (a distant relative of Roger Mudd, the broadcaster) was convicted of being one of the conspirators who assassinated Lincoln. Vowell delves deeply and fascinatingly into the sequence of events, remarks on his heroic behavior during the malaria epidemic at the Fort (one of the largest ever built, we learn, after a hysterical, stomach-heaving boat journey) on the Dry Tortugas including efforts by his grandson to completely clear his name. I cannot recommend this book enough - but listen to it.



  • (4/5)
    I love Vowell. Who else but Violet from the Incredibles would undertake a tour of asassination sites - and make it interesting, funny and compelling? That said, she wears her liberal politics on her sleeve, so those with a more right wing opinion might be annoyed by those sections. Read around it, it's worth it.
  • (3/5)
    This is the first of Sarah Vowell's books I've read. Big ups to Sarah for being humorous, erudite, and for focusing on an aspect of U.S. history that even I, as a minor history buff, knew very little about. I mean, before reading this book, I could certainly have rattled off that McKinley was killed by an "anarchist named Leon Czolgosz," and that Garfield was killed by "Charles Guiteau, who had been seeking appointment to diplomatic office," but that would have been verbatim from my high school textbooks, and I would have been unable to supply any additional detail. Vowell provides that detail in spades, in the form of an interesting, reflective travelogue. The writing meanders pleasantly, going into historical and personal asides without bogging down.

    What keeps the book from getting four stars from me is Vowell herself. Her narrative voice bugs me, as she is frequently at pains to remind the reader that she is quirky, morbid, and liberal. Never mind that she is the author here, and could just as easily have shown me those things through her narration rather than simply come out and said them about herself. Nonetheless, she stays out of the way of her own story enough to make this a very worthwhile read.
  • (4/5)
    A quirky, interesting travelogue with a strange mix of erudite analysis, American history and cheeky anecdotes.
  • (4/5)
    I mistook Assassination Vacation for a novel at first (misled by the title, I think), so was a bit put off by it to start. Once my reading brain had rotated to the task at hand, however, I became duly engrossed in Vowell's historical travelogue. AV is a buddy flic choc full of Dead Presidents with their ancillary assassins & hangers on. Amusing & informative review of American history 1865-1901. The central figure, the President to whom all else returns, is, of course, Abraham Lincoln--along with Kennedy, the most notoriously dead President of all. Assassination Vacation reads as a grandchild of Howard Zinn's The People's History of the United States and as a sisterly companion to the poet Brenda Coultas's The Marvelous Bones of Time.
  • (4/5)
    I've been interested in the stories surrounding the history of assassination since first seeing Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. When Sarah Vowell tries to explain the show to strangers in a bed and breakfast in the prologue, I knew this was going to be my kind of book. As always, Vowell's voice is witty, and filled at once for irreverence to tradition and reverence for the idea of America and what it can be at its best.
  • (4/5)
    I've been interested in the stories surrounding the history of assassination since first seeing Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. When Sarah Vowell tries to explain the show to strangers in a bed and breakfast in the prologue, I knew this was going to be my kind of book. As always, Vowell's voice is witty, and filled at once for irreverence to tradition and reverence for the idea of America and what it can be at its best.
  • (4/5)
    I have heard Sarah Vowell on NPR and found her narratives entertaining, but not entertaining enough to overcome the annoyance of listening to her nasal, whiny voice. I stumbled onto this book in paperback just before a cross country trip. I share the author's interest in presidential history (without the morbid emphasis), and her inability to bypass any historical marker, and I thought I might find her writing more bearable than her reading. This turned out to be an enjoyable read for a long trip. Vowell describes her visits to a variety of historic sites with some connection to Presidential assassinations. Docents at these locations must really appreciate such an enthusiastic visitor. She delights in relating minor details and coincidences that elude more serious historians. Most notably, Robert Todd Lincoln's presence at three Presidential assassinations, and the fact that he once fell on a train platform, and was rescued by Edwin Booth, brother of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth. I do wonder how Vowell's young nephew will turn out, after being dragged along on so many of these morbid adventures.
  • (5/5)
    It's a book that really benefits from the audio treatment. You can catch the abundance of humor and healthy doses of cynicism that you might miss during a read. It's extremely well written, informative, and entertaining.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating story that would have been much better if she had attempted some degree of objectivity. Well worth reading.
  • (2/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    For a unique and morbid vacation experience, Sarah Vowell decided to travel the country by visiting locations where politicians have been assassinated. In this book, she shares interesting anecdotes, both from history and her own experiences, as well as a ton of fun facts. I really liked this approach to the story because, as I mentioned in my review of The Map Thief, I like when authors of nonfiction insert themselves into their work. It’s one way of adding immediacy to a story which is mostly about the past. I also enjoyed the historical information which the author presented in a fashion suitable for a cocktail party. This was often enjoyable but something about her light tone sometimes rubbed me the wrong way.

    In addition to something intangible, there were several specific components of her causal writing style which bothered me. The biggest problem was the organization. The author was constantly going on tangents from the main story. The book did not clearly move forward through time in either her historical anecdotes or her stories about her travels. This made it hard for me to make connections between different facts and anecdotes, which makes it far less likely I’ll remember any of them later. Although the book had four different sections, the first one on Abraham Lincoln took up almost half the book and the rest of the sections often jumped back into his story. I think it’s possible the author should have stuck with that one story instead of tagging on several others.

    I also disliked the author’s choice to include her own political opinions. Even though I often agreed with her, I don’t give any particular weight to her opinions and felt like they added to the incoherence of the book. Her jokes didn’t always work for me and in one case, involving the use of the word “retarded”, I found her very offensive. I can see why some people might like her writing style. She has endless enthusiasm and tells what could be dry stories in fascinating ways. However, her casual attitude, her choice to swamp the story with her own opinions, and her disorganization made this only an ok read for me.

    This review first published on Doing Dewey.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (2/5)
    I am about two thirds of my way through this one. Borrowed this book from a friend that highly recommended it as something that he thought I would enjoy. My initial impression of the author and her writing style is she is an impudent, erudite, febrile poster child of the liberal gum chewing American teenager. She bounces all over the place in her stream of conscience style narrative and frequently throws out random trivia that has nothing to do with the subject at hand. I think she would be a hoot to travel with her random facts and very different view point.
    She does point out she gave up Christianity and religion and in its place she has adopted American patriotism.
    She does show she lacks some understanding of the differences between how culture and society in past times differed dramatically from the present. That takes a lot of immersive study to get a hold of so I don’t really hold that against her a great deal but some of her conclusions about people might have been different had she had a fuller understanding of their times. It is so tempting though to judge the past through our present mores and standards because that is what we are so used to doing.

    This was more entertainment than history though I must admit the last half was pretty interesting as she talked about several people and incidents I was not familiar with.
  • (2/5)
    Book on CD read by the author and special guests
    I loved the premise of this nonfiction book. I have a nearly life-long fascination with murder and murderers. Vowell’s obsession is more specific to political assassination, but still, I am forever drawn to the kinds of attractions she visits … museums of medical interest, or regarding crime. This volume chronicles her visits to various sites related to the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. I also had the text version available to me (mostly to verify spellings, etc), and I have to say she does include a lot of fascinating trivia about the people involved in these cases. Even to including information about other people who were in the Ford Theatre when John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln, and their descendents.

    As for the audio … OMG … I know from her bio that she’s done voice work (notably voicing “Violet” in The Incredibles - a Pixar animated film). But she really should have hired a different, professional actor, or relied on her “guests” more. Her guests have only an occasional sentence to pronounce, and they include: Conan O’Brien, Stephen King (who plays Abraham Lincoln), Dave Eggers and Jon Stewart (among others). On the other hand, Vowell’s extremely nasal tone, plus the background music, are enough to make me run for the hills. Had I rated the audio book only, I’d give it 1 star; but I was still fascinated by the subject. She’s like that weird history teacher you had in 5th grade who was so obsessed with some detail that s/he made it come alive for you (even though you rolled your eyes and KNEW s/he was loony tunes). That focused attention gets her an extra star.