From public radio This American Life contributor and self-described “history nerd” Sarah Vowell comes a collection of humorous and personal essays investigating American history, pop culture and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
In this insightful and funny collection of personal stories Vowell travels through the American past and in doing so 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 book, capturing Vowell's memorable wit and her keen social commentary.
Sarah 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.
Paul Begala was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign. He served as counselor to the president in the Clinton White House, where he coordinated policy, politics, and communications. He was senior adviser to the pro-Obama Super PAC that played a critical role in reelecting Obama in 2012. He is the author of five books, including Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush; It’s Still the Economy, Stupid; Buck Up, Suck Up...and Come Back When You Foul Up (with James Carville); Third Term: Why George W. Bush Loves John McCain; and Take it Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (with James Carville). Begala is a CNN political commentator and an affiliated professor of public policy at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Paul earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas. He and his wife live quietly in Virginia with their four sons and a German shepherd. (Okay, so they don’t live too quietly.)
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of many books, including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Gentlemen of the Road, Telegraph Avenue, Moonglow, Pops, and the picture book The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man. He is the editor, with Ayelet Waldman, of Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation and Fight of the Century.