The Wordy Shipmates
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In The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell travels once again through America’s past, this time to 17th century New England. From the British Library to the Mohegan Sun Casino, from the nation’s first synagogue to a Mayflower waterslide, Vowell studies the Puritan effect and finds their beliefs about church and state more interesting than their buckles and corn reputation would suggest. She asks: Was Massachusetts governor John Winthrop a communitarian, Christ-like Christian or conformity’s tyrannical enforcer? Yes! Was Rhode Island’s architect Roger Williams America’s founding freak or the father of the first amendment? Same difference. How come Henry Vane the Younger, who argued against beheading the English king was himself beheaded for helping behead said king? Good question. What does it take to get that Jezebel Anne Hutchinson to shut up? A hatchet. What was the Puritans’ pet name for the Pope? The Great Whore of Babylon. What is the lesson of the Pequot War? Why, don’t fire one of your military’s embarrassingly few Arabic translators just because they’re gay of course. Like in all Vowell’s bestselling works, this exploration of America’s past is both poignant and entertaining. The Wordy Shipmates is abundant with historical fact, humorous insight and social commentary by one of America’s celebrated voices.