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Assassination Vacation

Average Rating 4
( 118 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Funny, Fascinating, Fast Reading

This is one of my favorite books. It is a great story of history and the happen-chance meetings and situations that are woven into it. Many fascinating stories - especially enjoyable for those of us who enjoy trivia - written in a very lively, free-flowing style. Very...
This is one of my favorite books. It is a great story of history and the happen-chance meetings and situations that are woven into it. Many fascinating stories - especially enjoyable for those of us who enjoy trivia - written in a very lively, free-flowing style. Very enjoyable read.

posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Read, but with caution

A well researched book that is entertaining. However the author's far leftist political views pop constantly throughout every chapter thus making this book more of a vehicle for her agenda than a interesting and provocative read. I suggest this book, however be forewarn...
A well researched book that is entertaining. However the author's far leftist political views pop constantly throughout every chapter thus making this book more of a vehicle for her agenda than a interesting and provocative read. I suggest this book, however be forewarned of the political nonsense that is interwoven in what is otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable book.

posted by Bearkat on May 29, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2005

    good stuff

    I enjoyed this book. If you are interested in presidential assassinations but don't feel like nodding off in between lines of dry, academic drivel...this is the book for you. It presents the facts in a well organized way with a little humor thrown in; I should emphasize 'a little humor' because some of the jokes just are not funny. However there is an O.C. reference which saved the day for me. I also took a walk around Chelsea and checked out some of the buildings and statues. It got me excited about leader-of-the-free-world death all over again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2005

    Very good!

    This is a very good book -- plenty of actual history, with great wit and style to really make things interesting. I really enjoyed it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2005

    A Read to Die For

    I highly recommend this book, as a former Thanatology student and American History buff I found this book very intersesting and extremely witty. (Although I disagree with Ms. Vowell's politics) Sarah concentrated on three Republican Presidential assassinations which has me a bit curious. You will definitely enjoy this book !

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Not 'Cannoli,' but...

    Even at her most disjointed, Sarah Vowell never ceases to make a reader laugh out loud or think. 'Assassination Vacation' is not the best thing she has ever written, not by a longshot, but this tour through some of our country's more unknown (and sometimes morbid) historical sites is a long, meandering wander through Ms. Vowell's psyche as well. It's worth the trip. Oh, and you'll never utter the phrase 'Seward Plaque,' without thinking of her and you will utter it, trust me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Funny History

    Sarah Vowell has staked out a unique niche. She writes about subjects that would interest a historian but writes in the arch style of a Mencken-like satirist. Visiting the sites associated with the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley is loopy and obsessive idea, but she gets away with it, and her tidbit on Robert Todd Lincoln--- that he was in some way connected to each--- is a real historical coincidence, certainly more real and creepy than, for example, the number of letters in the names of Lincoln and Kennedy which some pseudo-conspiracy buffs seem to get off on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Interesting, Informative & Amusing

    Good writer, interesting info. An easy read.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    An Entertaining Look at Presidential Assassinations

    While I am not the typical non-fiction fan, Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation definitely proved to be quite an enjoyable read. In the book, Vowell treks across the country on a self-proclaimed pilgrimage of presidential death. She travels everywhere from museums to cemeteries to mountain ranges exploring the first three presidential assassinations. Vowell definitely fits into the category of “nerd” as a result of her obsession with history, specifically the history of death. Throughout the book, she is constantly roping in friends and relatives to come with her on her journey, much to their dismay. Despite other’s disinterest in her passion; Vowell constantly maintains a captivated attitude in the topic which she loves.
    One of the most enjoyable factors of the book is Vowell’s humor and wit. She is able to take such seemingly morbid and tragic topics and deliver them in such a way that makes them quite comedic. Her humoristic writing style is particularly pleasurable during the second and third chapters of the book which deal with the assassinations of James Garfield and William McKinley. Like many, I knew next to nothing about the assassinations of these two presidents and I honestly had no desire to learn more. However, through descriptions that make the reader chuckle and sentences that drip with sarcasm, Garfield and McKinley suddenly become much more interesting. Vowell also does a nice job of exploring the personas of the assassins themselves. Through in depth research and detailed background information, the reader gains a better perspective as to who they actually were.
    The only thing that slightly disappointed me in Assassination Vacation was Vowell’s frequent political rants. Although I did not necessarily disagree with her, it was somewhat annoying to be constantly reminded of political beliefs. I wish there was a way she could make connections between the political climate of then and now without constantly reminding the audience of her political ideology.
    Overall, Assassination Vacation is a fun and insightful look on the more morbid elements American history. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more on presidential assassinations without the dry and dull approach of a textbook.

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  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Funny History

    I picked this up in Barnes and Noble on a whim and wasn't disappointed. I learned a lot about the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. Vowell spit up a lot of facts, but much of it was fascinating. I had no idea that Lincoln wasn't the only person who was supposed to be killed! My only issue with the book was that Vowell did not hold back on her personal political beliefs - it detracted from the interesting history.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 5, 2011

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