Regarding the new edition of "Richmond Redeemed" . . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Who Says History is Boring?

From Mercury News wire reports

Every field of endeavor that is conventionally thought of as uninteresting and dull needs a smart, sarcastic, sex symbol to enliven it. In the field of history, Sarah Vowell is that person. Having previously written a book about a road trip to tourist sites devoted to the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, McKinley and Garfield, the squeaky-voiced history wonk has turned her attention to another potentially mind-numbing subject — the Puritans.

Vowell, who is popping up on radio talk shows promoting the book, "The Wordy Shipmates," has her own ideas about the group.

"My Puritans were not the generic, boring, stupid, judgmental killjoys" history makes them out to be, she says. "Because to me, they are very specific, fascinating, sometimes brilliant, judgmental killjoys who rarely agreed on anything except that Catholics are going to hell," Vowell writes in the book.

Consider Vowell's portrayal of the Puritans — led by John Winthrop — as well-educated, literary people.

"Winthrop and his shipmates and their children and their children's children just wrote their own books and pretty much kept their noses in them up until the day God created the Red Sox."

She doesn't consider herself a historian, but has recently become more comfortable thinking of herself as a writer who can teach history in her own way.

"I'm offended that people think history is boring," she said in a recent interview. "I find the same part of me that loves movies and TV shows and novels is the same part of me that is obsessed with history because it has all the drama, it has all the characters and strange dialogue ... and all the killers that the films of Martin Scorcese have."

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Indeed.

--tps

1 comment:

Harry said...

Love Sarah Vowell's stuff. Along with Norman Maclean's "Young Men and Fire", "Assassination Vacation" is a book I'd want to have if I was stranded on a deserted island. It makes Pepsi shoot out my nose.