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Download The Partly Cloudy Patriot Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (13,302 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Vowell Narrator: Sarah Vowell, Conan O’Brien, Conan O’Brien, Seth Green, Stephen Colbert, David Cross, Paul Begala, Michael Chabon, Norman Lear Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and, in doing so, investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. In this insightful and funny collection of personal stories, Vowell—widely hailed for her inimitable narratives on public radio’s This American Life—ponders a number of curious questions: Why is she happiest when visiting the sites of bloody struggles like Salem or Gettysburg? Why do people always inappropriately compare themselves to Rosa Parks? Why is a bad life in sunny California so much worse than a bad life anywhere else? What is it about the Zen of foul shots? And, in the title piece, why must doubt and internal arguments haunt the sleepless nights of the true patriot?

Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, themes, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German Filmmakers; Tom Cruise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union, and George W. Bush’s inauguration. The result is a teeming and engrossing audiobook, capturing Vowell’s memorable wit and her keen social commentary.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Even though her pieces make us laugh about every fourth line, we feel as if there’s something more significant at work…A writer of fierce observational powers who wears her intelligence and wit as comfortably as an old pair of pajamas.” 

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Intelligent and persuasive.” 

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Sassy, learned pieces…Vowell is distinctive, excitable, and odd in a good way…A singular mixture of whimsy, honesty, and seriousness.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “Her grasp of history and its implication is astounding.”

    St. Petersburg Times

  • “Vowell is charming, funny, and blessed with a knack for finding absurdities in mundane scenarios.”

    Sunday Oregonian

  • “You may wish that the engaging Vowell was your history teacher in high school. She knows her stuff. But, most of all, she loves this country.”

    Charlotte Observer

  • “An irresistible mix of acerbic wit and semi-apologetic fanaticism.”

    Austin American-Statesman

  • “Part history lesson, part civics primer, The Partly Cloudy Patriot is a treasure.”


  • “Vowell’s collection of essays explores patriotism and other aspects of contemporary life from the refreshingly contrarian view of a thoughtfully disaffected, wryly outspoken, and deeply passionate citizen.” 

    Hartford Courant

  • “Vowell reveals herself to be a master at ferreting out the contradictions and hypocrisies that are unique to American society.”

    Time Out New York

  • “No one in recent memory has been as insightful on the direct pleasures and perils of voting, the misuse of Rosa Parks as a metaphor, the appeal of Canadians, and the relative merits of presidential libraries…eloquent…hilarious…Vowell, like David Sedaris, goes too far, cares too much, and remains a very anxious and extremely funny citizen and shady patriot.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An engrossing take on the suddenly sexy topic of love of country…Vowell puts the reader on notice that, sure, she’s funny, but supporting the quips is a rock-solid knowledge of history. Refreshing, inspiring, enchanting.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A humorous, insightful, and informative look at one individual’s sense of patriotism.” 


  • “Part social commentary and part stand-up comedy routine for the intellectually inclined, this collection of essays…mines history and current events for insights into American life.”

    Library Journal

  • “These essays and commentaries from Vowell’s NPR radio appearances and other sources are curmudgeonly, critical, liberal, and…laugh-out-loud funny..Her wit and slightly quirky outlook make reading her book a pleasure. Teens, regardless of their political leanings, will enjoy the pop-culture connections and even learn some history while smiling at her delivery.”

    School Library Journal

  • “A solid thinker with a warm heart and a smart mouth…The Partly Cloudy Patriot is a great piece of writing, a sharp example of American goofing, funny and true, and fraught with deep contradiction, just like the country.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marc | 2/11/2014

    " If you like Sarah Vowell (and who doesn't), this is for you. If you haven't had the pleasure, this is as good a place to start as any. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Andy | 1/26/2014

    " I've listened to it at least three times. It's funny, education and there's a really nice through line. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Salem | 1/19/2014

    " It was strange reading this book -- written around the time of the "election" of George W. Bush in 2000 -- just before the inauguration of his successor. I certainly recall feeling the same things that Vowell did during this unfortunate era in our nation's history, but the emotions fell slightly flat as we prepared to wake up from our national nightmare. Also, ASSASSINATION VACATION was better, so this book suffered for being read after its successor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Azadeh | 1/16/2014

    " I first encountered Sarah Vowell's excelent story-telling on the radio program, This American Life. I have since become a fan of Sarah's collection of short stories. This book is no exception, Sarah's insight, humor and ardent patrotism makes her read entertaining and educational, in an Op-Ed kinda-way. "

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