I have a long history of falling in love with long dead historical figures. When I was in AP US History, I was in love with Davy Crockett. Thanks to Sarah Vowell’s new book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, I know have a historical crush on the Marquis de Lafayette. In this new book, Vowell cheerfully describes the life, Revolutionary battles and historic return visit of Lafayette. She also mixes in her descriptions of visiting historical sites and her sharp wit in reference to more recent events in our “somewhat United States.”
While I normally opt for the tangible in-hand copy of a book, I decided to go for the audiobook version of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States for the reason that not only does Sarah Vowell read most of the book, but she has on hand a whole slew of famous voices to back her up. I fell in love with Vowell’s sarcastic tone when listening to her on This American Life and found myself delighted each time she had a segment. In addition to her familiar voice are Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson you guys) as George Washington with voices by John Hodgman, Alexis Denisof, Patton Oswald, Fred Armisen John Slattery, Stephanie March and Bobby Canavale. I’m sorry, but Nick Offerman, the most American man ever on Parks and Rec, is voice George Washington. Oh and then there’s the fact that Alexis Denisof reads for the voice of British Officers. This audiobook was very much a case of take my money, please.
Sarah Vowell’s sense of humor is a bit more on the Liberal side of things, so Conservatives be prepared. I found myself cracking up at her references to current politics, especially that short and uncomfortable period of time where our nation resorted to changing our fried potatoes to “Freedom Fries” after France said they would not get involved in a war with the Middle East. There are so many fascinating facts from Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, that one leaves feeling both overwhelmed and wanting to spout off random facts about Revolutionary War battles. It was also interesting to hear facts from the European-side of things. For example, the British losing the colonies in the United States, isn’t really all that big during English History and Lafayette received the most convenient battle wound of all time.
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is the perfect book for the sarcastic history lover in your life or that big NPR or This American Life fan.
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is now available from Simon and Schuster. Look for it on Amazon