A little strange and oddly pleasant to check in with ‘The Daily Show’ and find Jon Stewart and his guest Sarah Vowell discussing Rhode Island and Roger Williams. (Go here for October 5th episode.) She is flogging the paperback edition of her recent book The Wordy Shipmates, and she is still a huge Roger Williams fan. In discussing our unique history, she eloquently restated her opposition to the changing of our name (the whole ‘plantations’ misunderstanding) which she covered last Fourth of July in a widely syndicated column. (Happily, this issue seems to have taken a backseat of late to our more pressing economic problems.) Reviewing the book for The New York Times, the always discerning Virginia Heffernan (who I wish was my cool friend that I could call up whenever I wanted and we would just talk and she would really like me) admits to finding the whole Vowell act a bit wearing, but ultimately admits,
My experience of the book: I kept being annoyed, and I kept reading.
Paperback edition now available at Books on the Square and other fine bookstores everywhere.
2 thoughts on “Attention Netops”
My mum’s an historian, so I got her two of Vowell’s books. I haven’t heard back yet on either, and it’s been a couple years now. Perhaps mum is just being polite. Separately, others I know who’ve read her describe her style as engaging, but all too confident, noting that some of her work relies on certain theories that haven’t been agreed upon by experts.
I haven’t read her myself. But listening to her on NPR, I get the sense that she has a great time with all this, and is eminently pleased with herself. I’m sure this is supposed to be delightful. But coming from a family of scientists, including an historian, I really want her to can the chittery fun stuff and deal with the facts.
For serious history that’s penetrating, accessible, and still engaging, see James Burke.