So I starting listening to this last fall, pre the arrival of Little Beth Ellen. Then I didn’t go anywhere for months, so it took coming off of maternity leave and commuting to work again to finish it up. The reason I was excited for this one was twofold: I’m Hamilton obsessed, just like the rest of the world, but also I, like many others, grew up in a town named for the man (also the only one in the country spelled correctly, a fun fact!) and I realized I knew almost nothing about him. All we learned in school from local history was that he was a hero who helped us win the Revolutionary War, and when he later returned to tour the US is the year the town was founded (1824/25). Hamilton added a little insight, but I wanted more. Thank goodness for audiobooks on commutes. Keeps one sane.
I’ve never read/listened to a Sarah Vowell book before so I didn’t know what to expect, and overall the results were mixed, but I’m definitely willing to try another. What Vowell does here is a somewhat biography of the Marquis de La Fayette through the battle of Yorktown.She roadtrips and adventures to a couple of revolutionary war battle sites and includes many asides about significant figures past and present.
What I found was that I was entertained, but definitely left wanting more of Lafayette’s history. I wanted a more complete biography, especially more about his return visit in 1824/25. The little asides, while cute and amusing, cut time away from a central story I was quite interested in, and I couldn’t help feeling at the end that it felt incomplete. What I really loved about it though was Vowell’s use of voice actors to read allowed their own, cited words. Nick Offerman as George Washington was an inspired choice and now I want him to be GW in a biopic SO BADLY. Also John Slattery as the Marquis himself was quite a delight as well.
So overall it was okay. I wanted more, but at least I really got to enjoy what was there, and some fun voice work along the way.