Sarah Vowell (author and voice actor of Violet from The Incredibles) will be reading from her new book “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States” and signing at Politics & Prose Bookstore at 7:00 PM on Thursday, October 22, 2015. This event is free and open to the public.
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Harvard Book Store welcomes bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Wordy Shipmates SARAH VOWELL on Friday October 23, 2015 at 7:00 PM for a reading from her latest book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette.
Chronicling General Lafayette’s years in Washington’s army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War. Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way.
Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause.
While Vowell’s yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past—and present—her telling of the Revolution is just as much a story of friendship: between Washington and Lafayette, between the Americans and their French allies and, most of all between Lafayette and the American people. Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Vowell lingers over the elderly Lafayette’s sentimental return tour of America in 1824, when three-fourths of the population of New York City turned out to welcome him ashore. As a Frenchman and the last surviving general of the Continental Army, Lafayette belonged to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction. He was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what the founders hoped this country could be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing, singular past.
Vowell’s narrative look at our somewhat united states is humorous, irreverent and wholly original.
First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138
Priority seating begins at 5:00 pm; call the store for details on how to obtain priority seating. Event space is located on the 4th floor.
Barnes & Noble – Union Square
33 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003
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Sarah Vowell signs on Friday March 25, 2011 at 7:00 PM.
Harvard Book Store is thrilled to welcome popular historian and public radio personality SARAH VOWELL as she discusses her newest book, Unfamiliar Fishes.
Many think of 1776 as the defining year of American history, when we became a nation devoted to the pursuit of happiness through self-government. In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as defining, when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded first Cuba, then the Philippines, becoming an international superpower practically overnight.
Among the developments in these outposts of 1898, Vowell considers the Americanization of Hawaii the most intriguing. From the arrival of New England missionaries in 1820, their goal to Christianize the local heathen, to the coup d’état of the missionaries’ sons in 1893, which overthrew the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, and often appealing or tragic, characters: whalers who fired cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their God-given right to whores, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode “Aloha ‘Oe” serenaded the first Hawaiian president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade.
“Ever-clever NPR contributor Vowell offers a quick, idiosyncratic account of Hawaii from the time Capt. James Cook was dispatched to the then–Sandwich Islands to the end of the 19th century, when the United States annexed the islands…. The author presents the views of the islanders as well as the invaders, as she delves into journals and narratives and takes field trips with local guides. Her characteristic light touch is evident throughout. Lively history and astute sociology make a sprightly chronicle of a gorgeous archipelago and its people.” —Kirkus Reviews
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Sarah Vowell (Violet in The Incredibles) signs Wordy Shipmates on October 16, 2009 at 7:00 PM.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Jack London Sq, 98 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607