Saturday, October 18, 2008
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell describes the author a contributor to NPR's obsession with the assassinations of American Presidents. The first three to be killed are dealt with Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. JFK is left out except for one or two small references. The argument in the text is that the first three were linked by Todd Lincoln being near to all three assassination sites. This seems a little forced. Vowell is trying to be funny. The humor isn't at least to me. The narrative itself is also very disjointed. It's laid out in chapters 1 for each assassination but it will bounce between the various narrative threads. It should be noted that she tries to link the McKinley administration with the current Bush presidency. Personally I didn't find the comparison all that egregious but it's caused some pretty severe frothing on the Amazon review page for the book. I did learn one or two things but the book comes off more like a piece of performance art then a the history or travelogue.