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Extended Audio Sample Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Audiobook, by Sarah Vowell Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Vowell Narrator: Stephanie March, Bobby Cannavale, John Slattery, Sarah Vowell, Patton Oswalt, Alexis Denisof, John Hodgman, Fred Armisen, Nick Offerman Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2015 ISBN: 9781442391093
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From the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette.

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. Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Vowell lingers over the elderly Lafayette’s sentimental return tour of America in 1824, when three fourths of the population of New York City turned out to welcome him ashore. As a Frenchman and the last surviving general of the Continental Army, Lafayette belonged to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction. He was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what the founders hoped this country could be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing, singular past.

Vowell’s narrative look at our somewhat united states is humorous, irreverent, and wholly original.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A book that’s informative, funny, and insightful.”

    Time

  • "[A] freewheeling history of the Revolutionary War…[when] Lafayette was for a time ‘a national obsession.’"

    New Yorker

  • “A portrait of [Lafayette] and his older contemporaries, with whom he found friendship, glory, and endless bickering.”

    Cosmopolitan

  • “Vowell’s rollicking, sly humor is the perfect spoonful of sugar to down with her intensive research and historical insight.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Vowell wanders through the history of the American Revolution and its immediate aftermath, using Lafayette’s involvement in the war as a map, and bringing us all along in her perambulations…Her prose sparkles.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Like her previous books, Lafayette strikes witty blows against the stodgy sorts of US history taught in classrooms.”

    Smithsonian

  • "[Vowell] turns the dusty chronicle of American history into a lively mash up and then, playing the history nerd, delivers her stories in her flat funny voice.”

    National Book Review

  • “An A-list of recognizable voices, including those of John Hodgman reading John Adams and Nick Offerman portraying George Washington, delivers dozens of quotes from our forefathers. Vowell deftly stirs together tones of satire, superlative research, and, yes, patriotism to make American history irresistible. If she isn’t a national treasure, she should be. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Vowell brings a learned, wiseacre hand to this work, full of its own brio and dash…that finds you embracing history.”

    Barnes&Noble.com

  • An Audible.com Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Yearin Humor & Entertainment
  • A New York Times Bestseller
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About the Author
Author Sarah VowellSarah Vowell is a contributing editor for public radio's This American Life and has written for Time, Esquire, GQ, Spin, Salon, McSweeneys, The Village Voice, and the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of Radio On, Take the Cannoli, and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. She lives in New York City.
About the Narrators

Bobby Cannavale is a film, stage, and television actor. He has appeared in numerous television shows and films, but he is perhaps best known for his role as a reincarnated matchmaker on ABC's Cupid. He won an Emmy for his guest appearance on the hit show Will & Grace.

Patton Oswalt is an American stand-up comedian, actor, voice actor, and New York Times bestselling author. He has released television specials and critically acclaimed comedy albums, including the Grammy Award-nominated My Weakness Is Strong. He put together the Comedians of Comedy tour and television series and he has held recurring character roles on many television shows. He has appeared in more than twenty films and has worked as a voice actor in King of Queens, Cartoon Network’s Robotomy, and the Disney animated film Ratatouielle.

John Hodgman lives in New York City, where he curates and hosts “The Little Gray Book Lectures,” a monthly colloquium of readings, songs, and dubious scholarship. He can also be seen frequently on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a residential expert. He is a contributing writer at New York Times Magazine and a frequent voice on public radio’s This American Life. Further fiction, nonfiction, and genres in between have appeared in Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and One-Story, among other publications. He has performed at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, as well as on the great stages of Chicago, Philadelphia, and London’s Barbican.

Nick Offerman is an actor, humorist, and woodworker. He is married to the most beautiful and talented actress working today, Megan Mullally. They live in Los Angeles, California, with their poodles and an impressive collection of assorted wood clamps.