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Sarah Vowell is the bestselling author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, Unfamiliar Fishes, The Wordy Shipmates, Assassination Vacation, and The Partly Cloudy Patriot.
Vowell's voice, familiar to NPR listeners, is something of an acquired taste: wobbly, unpolished, with a little-girl tone that some might find grating. Listening to Vowell read her entire book might be too much of an occasionally good thing, but she effectively tones down her vocal persona by providing a star-studded array of other voices. Reading her own comic tale of the history of Hawaii and its elected kings, fruit barons, and the mixed blessings of manifest destiny, Vowell punctuates her book with brief snatches of guest readers, passing off quotations to the likes of Paul Rudd and John Slattery. Their presence, low-key as it might be, enlivens the book, giving it the feel of dialogue rather than lecture. A Riverhead hardcover. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Sarah Vowell is an intellectual melting pot. Her cleverness is gorgeously American..." - Los Angeles Times "Its scintillating cast includes dour missionaries, genital-worshiping heathens, Teddy Roosevelt, incestuous royalty, a nutty Mormon, a much-too--merry monarch, President Obama, sugar barons, an imprisoned queen and Vowell herself, in a kind of 50th-state variety show. It's a fun book...[a] playful, provocative, stand-up approach to history."--The New York Times Book Review "As entertaining and personable as it is informative."--Washington Post "Sarah Vowell is for my money, the best essayist/radio commentator/sit-down comic and pointy headed history geek in the business."--Seattle Times