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Extended Audio Sample Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, 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: Alexis Denisof, Bobby Cannavale, Fred Armisen, John Hodgman, John Slattery, Nick Offerman, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Vowell, Stephanie March Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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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