[Sidebar: My office blocks the Atomic Books site as pornography. WTF?]
As an avid podcast listener, I’m familiar with Sarah Vowell and her on-air personality translates well to the page. I’m also a bit of a history nut and I love nothing more than a museum or a monument. I might be obsessed with Lincoln. So yeah. This book was written for me. I particularly enjoyed the segments where Vowell’s nephew was along for the ride. As I am exactly the type of mother who will drag her son to Cleveland to worship at the altar of dead rock musicians or will force him to complete the Junior Rangers activity booklet for the monuments on the National Mall.
[Sidebar: It looks like the Junior Rangers book has been updated! Which means we need to do it again! Yay!]
The chapter on Lincoln was endlessly fascinating, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the chapters on Garfield and McKinley, too. I don’t know much about Garfield of McKinley – honestly, my knowledge of US history is woefully incomplete despite reading many, many books on the subject after both high school and college. While it often seems Vowell is off on a tangent, it always circles back around at the end and ties into the theme of the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and find myself longing to retrace Vowell’s footsteps. Luckily, some of the spots mentioned in the book are right in my own backyard. So look for upcoming posts with pictures of my beloved child frowning and looking cranky in front of various cemeteries and statues and plaques! His mind will be better for it, whether he agrees with me or not.