I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but to be honest, Dan’s homework is a tough act to follow. I am okay with following yet another amazingly cognizent rant by Aaron though.
My path to this book involved a review for “Candy Girl: A Year In The Life Of An Unlikely Stripper” that said, “Diablo Cody is to stripping what Sarah Vowell is to American History. As a lover of both strippers and the history of America I was intrigued. I rushed to the library with my eyes filled with visions of well-filled American flag bikinis. In fairness to Diablo Cody, she put in more work for her book than Sarah Vowell probably ever has.
The Partly Cloudy Patriot is a collection of essays that tie in current events with political history and travel. Sarah Vowell writes like a Bill Bryson that focuses less on quirky one-liners and more on making larger connections full of irony. Calling Lincoln our “American Jesus” and contrasting Ted Nugent with Rosa Parks, Vowell remains intelligent yet accessible, and communicates her points very eloquently.
I do find a flaw in this book that brings it down an inch or two in my own opinion. Sarah Vowell is billed as an American History writer, and the library has this book wedged between books chock full of Pearl Harbor and Appomattox. However, only about half give history more than a passing glance.
The saving grace for this book and the main reason I recommend it is in the titular essay. Written in December of 2001, Vowell makes a powerful statement on being American.
“And while I could shake my fists for sure at the terrorists on page one, buried domestic items could still make my stomach hurt–school prayer partisans taking advantage of the guilt of children to circumvent the seperation of church and state; the White House press secretary condemning a late-night talk show host for making a questionable remark about the U.S. military: “The reminder is to all Americans, that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and now is not a time for remarks like that.” Those are the sort of never-ending qualms that have turned me into the partly cloudy patriot I long not to be.”