November 2008 Indie Next List
“As always, Vowell is darkly hilarious and freshly informative. She pokes fun at the buckle-shoed Puritans who first settled here, but she also tells a story of how their quirks, foibles, and love of words formed our country's personality. Her distinct and sharply witty voice makes this book an edifying delight.”
— Laura Delaney, The Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, ID
In this "New York Times" bestseller, the author of "Lafayette in the Somewhat United States""brings the Puritan] era wickedly to life" ("Washington Post").
To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Sarah Vowell investigates what that means-and what it should mean. What she discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoebuckles- and-corn reputation might suggest-a highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty people, whose story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance.
Vowell takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, where "righteousness" is rhymed with "wilderness," to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. Throughout, "The Wordy Shipmates" is rich in historical fact, humorous insight, and social commentary by one of America's most celebrated voices.
About the Author
Sarah Vowell is a contributing editor for public radio's "This American Life" and has written for "Time, Esquire, GQ, Spin, Salon, McSweeneys, The Village Voice, " and the "Los Angeles Times." She is the author of "Radio On, Take the Cannoli, " and "The Partly Cloudy Patriot." She lives in New York City.