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 all kinds of lighter diversions along the way 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. – Goodreads
I understand that this isn’t remotely YA, or the “usual” book that we review here. But here me out, there is an OC reference. Actually this book is full of pop culture references that made me forget I was reading non-fiction. I originally picked this book up for numerous reasons. It involves one of my loves:presidential history (I am that nerd in my group of friends.) The author came highly recommended from one of my friends years ago. So when you mush my two loves together, it seems I had to read this book.
I’m glad I did. It was a quick read. Each chapter is about three different presidents who happened to die in office. Vowell vacations to different various spots that occurred with the shootings. Ford’s Theater, where Roosevelt was when he heard about McKlinley being shot. There are a lot of facts in this book about the presidents and their assassins. I like to think to a non-history person that she makes it fascinating and it isn’t dry but I really can’t promise that with a straight face.
However, if you are in the mood for some quick, light, history reading. I highly recommend this book.