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The Wordy Shipmates


"The Wordy Shipmates" is "New York Times"?bestselling author Sarah Vowell's exploration of the Puritans and their journey to America to become the ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Wordy Shipmates

Overall customer rating: 3.800

American History as it's not often told!

by Stu936 on Dec 6, 2011

Sarah Vowell does a wonderful job of defining the differences between the Plymouth Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I learned a lot and enjoyed her witty insights.



by b29b on Mar 11, 2010

This book, recommended to me, proved a sore disappointment. The author's "history" of the Puritan adventure is merely a ruse to proclaim her own political beliefs and to attack traditional American icons. As to her research, I question it. Since her reading of modern events is dishonest and scewed, I am distrustful of her work on the Puritans. John Winthrop, Increase Mather, and Samuel Sewall have told their own stories. It is better to read them than this whining "blog" with its silly references to modern culture such as The Brady Bunch. These cutesy assides are irritating and inane. This is a terrible book and in no way history.


I LOVED this book!

by CopakeWillow on Feb 4, 2010

Sarah Vowell has made what was for me an obscure part of history fascinating. She has obviously done a great deal of research about the Puritans and Pilgrims, where they came from, what motivated them, their impressions of the New World and the impressions they made on the New World, and their continuing influence on American culture and thought. Her take is very personal and extremely funny. I actually laughed out loud throughout this book. She delights in pointing out the idiosyncrasies and foibles of these very serious people and their endeavors, but she also has a great deal of affection for them, so there is no mean-spirit here, just a clear-sighted, thoughtful, if very rye, description. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.


Vowell's Writing Makes Me Howl

by rdepontb on Jan 22, 2009

In her fifth book so far, "A Wordy Shipmate," Sarah Vowell seems to be going more and more out on the limb of edgy (inside edge, as in just barely professional at times; not the outside/frontier edge) writing. I sort of wish I hadn't caught her on television, for I hear her high-register voice and see her randy mannerisms when I read this book. She is open and honest about it, it seems: She knows she has gotten away with being a little snot and in fact is paid good money for it. I'm not so sure tthat he snarky takes on her rehashing of Massachusetts history were absolutely needed; it's been done lots better in many other books. So, to get my money's worth from the book, which I certainly did, I had to ignore her voice and image. I tried replacing it with Doris Goodman's, but that only went so far; the writing stles are just too different. Just reading as if written by a stranger worked fine after a bit of practice. Some of her bits could be used directly on stage at a comedy or improve club, and, depending on the mood of the evening, would likely be a huge hit. Other sections of the book dig deeper into Puritan history itself. While I'd read of those folks in high school and college even, it had been a while. Vowell sure does bring their story to life, although is it really fair to judge them against today's mores? Overall, the book is a very good read; just be careful to steer clear of her tv appearances.

Customer rating: 4 out of 5 4 out of 5
Would recommend?: Yes  1 out of 1
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