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The Resource Lafayette in the somewhat United States, Sarah Vowell

Lafayette in the somewhat United States, Sarah Vowell

Label
Lafayette in the somewhat United States
Title
Lafayette in the somewhat United States
Statement of responsibility
Sarah Vowell
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Chronicling General Lafayette's years in Washington's army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War. Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way. Drawn to the patriots' war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause. While Vowell's yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past--and present--her telling of the Revolution is just as much a story of friendship: between Washington and Lafayette, between the Americans and their French allies and, most of all between Lafayette and the American people" --
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • In this crash course on the fledgling nation’s teenaged French general, undoubtedly the only American Revolution narrative to offhandedly drop a Ferris Bueller reference, Vowell (Unfamiliar Fishes ) retains her familiar casual tone and displays her crow-like ability to find the shiny, nearly forgotten historical details. Unimpressed by Lafayette’s nobility, she instead admires his cheekiness and rebellious nature—traits well-suited to involvement in both American and French revolutions. Lafayette’s loyalty to George Washington and the U.S. came back to him during his triumphant 1824 visit, when cheering American crowds celebrated his return in numbers that easily dwarfed the Beatles’ invasion 140 years later. Jocularity and cheerful irreverence permeate the story, though it feels as if Vowell tries a bit too hard to retain a light atmosphere during detail-heavy passages (her labeling of the Moravians of Bethlehem, Pa., as “a community of German-American Jesus freaks” is a prime example). Nevertheless, her combination of well-researched, obscure details with personal, family-filled anecdotes and references to recent events, such as the 2013 federal government shutdown, add plenty of sparkle to an old tale. The Vowell formula once again guarantees an entertaining, nontraditional look at American history and a fast, enjoyable read. (Nov.) --Staff (Reviewed July 27, 2015) (Publishers Weekly, vol 262, issue 30, p)
  • At the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, unemployed French soldiers seeking fame, incomes, and revenge against the British were anxious to join American forces. The Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834), inspired by revolutionary ideals and motivated by glory, was 19 when he left his wife and defied the king to volunteer in the colonials' noble rebellion. George Washington gambled on him and other imported soldiers, taking advantage of their eagerness and sometimes questionable skills and experience. Vowell (Unfamiliar Fishes ), author, journalist, essayist, and commentator, wittily explores the enduring American affection for Lafayette, which was demonstrated by Americans' enthusiastic reception during his U.S. visit in 1824. She describes Lafayette's "military ardor"; his lust for glory and melodramatic, fawning manner; and his heroism, which benefitted the American cause while also reminding readers of bureaucratic incompetence, incongruities between principles and conduct (then and now), and even crucial French military and naval contributions to American independence (particularly at Yorktown). The author emphasizes that, despite current and past disunity, Americans possess the invaluable freedom to express opposing opinions. VERDICT Vowell's lively, droll style will attract readers to this cleverly crafted, well-researched book. It is especially recommended to those who are convinced that history is dry. [See Prepub Alert, 4/20/15.]— Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY --Margaret Kappanadze (Reviewed September 1, 2015) (Library Journal, vol 140, issue 14, p119)
Assigning source
provided by publisher
Biography type
individual biography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10446305
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1969-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Vowell, Sarah
Dewey number
  • 355.0092
  • B
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier
  • American Revolution (1775-1783)
  • Generals
  • Statesmen
  • Generals
  • Generals
  • Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.)
  • Politics and government
  • Statesmen
  • United States
  • France
  • France
  • United States
Label
Lafayette in the somewhat United States, Sarah Vowell
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1411641
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
274 pages
Isbn
9781594631740
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2015024639
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781594631740
  • (OCoLC)900623786
Label
Lafayette in the somewhat United States, Sarah Vowell
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1411641
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
274 pages
Isbn
9781594631740
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2015024639
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781594631740
  • (OCoLC)900623786

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
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      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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      30.2298616 -97.7070109
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      30.4337083 -97.7730809
    • Terrazas BranchBorrow it
      1105 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX, 78702, US
      30.2599154 -97.7334621
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