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The Wordy Shipmates Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 7, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Don't misunderstand me; this isn't at all a bad book. In fact, it's fascinating. It is jam-packed with fascinating information about the Massachusetts Puritans and the religious, social, and historical context of their settlement. Vowell weaves comments about her family background, education, travels, and hopes and fears into the narrative, just as she usually does.
When Vowell's writing works best, it's driven by her quirkiness and her ability to veer off on what seems to be a tangent, then bring everything together in the end. She does that here, but just not as well as in her other books. Perhaps the subject just isn't as susceptible to the Vowell treatment as the subjects of her other books.
I actually enjoyed this book, and I recommend it highly. However, it's just not as good as her other books made me expect it to be. Well worth reading, though.
Alas, I chose to give this book 3 of 5 stars. I figure that the best way to explain is to go through a list of pros and cons.
Vowell's book on the Pilgrims is obviously a very personal one, and her enthusiasm and passion for the subject shows very well. She recounts not only the tortuous adventure the Pilgrims took from Britian to America and their struggle to build a city, but also tours she has been on, journals she has pored through, and what the Pilgrims mean to her.
The Wordy Shipmates works best - works quite well - when it is read as a collection of themed essays, rather than a flowing book. Once I began to read it in this way, I was better able to admire Vowell's frequent and lengthy asides (where an essay on x quickly becomes an essay on y). Each essay explores some facet about the Pilgrims - their religiosity, their caring nature, their admiration of hard work - but each essay stands on its own more than connects with other essays.
As something of a collection of essays, Vowell can be (quite) redundant.Read more ›
We elected Bush? That's Anne Hutchinson's fault. And not just because Bush is a descendant of hers either. Had it not been for Anne's ideas, most American Protestants would not now believe in "immediate personal revelation" (p. 209)--the idea (radical at the time) that individuals have a personal relationship with God and that, as a result, only the individual is responsible for his or her own salvation. In other words, had it not been for Anne, there would have been no born-again Christians and, hence, no George Bush.
Our (often disastrous) interventions around the world? Blame Winthrop of "City on a Hill" fame. Had he not drummed into us that we're a city on a hill, a model to the world, we might be less eager to spread our model from one corner of the globe to the next. And, in any event, we might not have had Ronald Reagan as president. (I suspect Sarah Vowell might be a Democrat by the way.)
The Indian massacres? That too is the Puritans' fault. But here Sarah Vowell does not have to rely on genealogy or one man or woman's belief system to prove her point. The Puritans, after all, massacred many Indians. Like the Pequot, whose children, women, and men they literally burned alive. This book is thus worth reading if all you want are the details of what happened after Thanksgiving.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you don't know about Sarah Vowell's take on history and her engaging writing, then start your acquaintance with "The Wordy Shipmates" Wordy Shipmates? Read morePublished 19 days ago by Chris R
Vowell does the impossible: She makes the Puritans interesting and fun to read about!Published 26 days ago by Dawn M.
Detailed account of significant persons and events of 1600s New England colony government that relate to forming US constitution.Published 2 months ago by Ellin McShea
Brilliant, funny, historically accurate yet with wacky twists, Sarah has nailed the reason Americans dis their leaders with relish. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Judith Clancy
I'm too tired to write twenty words about Sarah Vowels great book, The Wordy Shipmates! Is that twenty? I hope so.Published 5 months ago by Brian Rogers
The type of book which should be presented to students in order to appreciate our heritage. Sarah is the best and most humorous of writers.Published 5 months ago by nancyv
This is a story of pilgrims. Specifically, the brave and pious souls who came over on Arbella in 1630 and started a Massachusetts Bay Colony. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mia