Actually, two. Or maybe three. Or as many as I want! Sarah Vowell has produced a delightfully charming, witty, and introspective look at, of all topics, presidential assassination, in her new witty and evocative book "Assassination Vacation".
Those of us who know Vowell from her numerous and witty appearances on the highly respected "This American Life" series know exactly what to expect when picking up a Vowell book: something interesting, funny, with pieces of introspection thrown in. She delivers her promise in her new tome. Vowell, a self-avowed history nut, decides to drag certain hapless aquaintances around the places associated with three presidential assassinations: Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley.
Along the way, she shares information she has researched or learned, which makes this book one of her more scholarly, if that word could ever be applied here. She actually makes history more palpable, more real for people to digest in an entertaining way. How many of us would desire reading a book about the famed assassin Leon Cgolgosz? Put Vowell's name on the cover, slap a salty title on the book, and bang, we're lining up book-in-hand to purchase it. (Oh, and by the way, Vowell finally deciphers the mystery of pronouncing Cgolgosz, which is.... is... hmmm, I suddenly can't remember).
Whenever you read a piece by Vowell, invariably, you never read it in your own voice, but her Sarah's voice ringing through, or was it Violet Parr from the Incredibles... oh wait, it's the SAME person). I guess that's the mark of a good writer, that she has developed her own style strong enough for us to hear her reading it to us. At any rate, this history nut who also goes ballistic whenever he comes across a plaque, gives this book five stars for a truly enjoyable read from a truly enjoyqable writer.