Saturday, February 13, 2016
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell
First of all, I love the cover images on Sarah Vowell's books. Never change.
Second of all, the inside of the book was just as stimulating. My knowledge of the American Revolution, and of Lafayette's role in it, was a bit hazy, not having revisited it since my childhood. I recognized many of the names because they surround me every day: I live in a town named for Nathanael Greene even though he never stepped foot in it. I live adjacent to counties named for Lafayette and Greene and Washington and Jefferson. Towns named for Steuben are nearby.
I don't think I ever knew (or thought I needed to know) what happened to Lafayette after the war or that he had a triumphant return in 1824, where two-thirds of the population of NYC turned out for him. I didn't realize how closely the Revolution followed on the heels of the French & Indian War, why the French were so anxious to fight the British again, and what the result of that fight would be on the French monarchy (sorry Louis & Marie!).
Finally, I love Sarah Vowell's snark and her drawings. I will definitely be reading more of her books.