Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
BuzzFlash is strictly non-violent. As we have said many a time, we wish a long and healthy life to everyone, even Busheviks. It's just that they should "enjoy" their good health in jail for violations of the rule of law, crimes against the Constitution, and crimes against humanity. But, please, be healthy while you're cleaning the prison floors.
So, we are a little surprised that a book by Sarah Vowell (a contributor to "This American Life") called "Assassination Vacation" should be one of our selections as a BuzzFlash premium. But we're not alone. It's number 10 on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller list at the time of this review.
When you come to think of it, the American (including our leaders) propensity toward violence and just plain killing people is a national pastime whose pathology is well worth exploring.
But Vowell is not a sociologist. Instead, she takes a wry, sardonic journey exploring the backgrounds, tall tales, tourist benefits, and weird people (dead and living) associated with the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley.
She kind of takes a toned-down Hunter Thompson assassination vacation that leaves you equally appalled and laughing at the American love affair with shooting its leaders -- and, of course, turning the assassinations into historical tourism industries.
No doubt the NRA will soon be advocating that every president should be armed!
It's hard to describe the quirky, idiosyncratic tone of this odd "travelogue" that we are sure Fodors won't be following up on anytime soon, except to say it's a book you probably won't put down until you're done. It's like being with an eccentric uncle who you just can't tear yourself away from.
One reviewer on that much referred to site named after a river lavished praise on Vowell's macabre journey:
Unfortunately, violence and assassinations are as American as apple pie.
Sarah Vowell puts a little wry a la mode on the slice. You'll definitely want a second piece of this darkly witty, but conscientious reportage.
It was hardly Vowell's intention to make us think too seriously about this all, but we couldn't help but wonder what the United States would be like if John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King were not assassinated. But that's for another book, another book altogether.
That one would leave a trail of tears.