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Sarah Vowell
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Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

 
 
Author
Sarah Vowell.
Publisher Riverhead  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 0.95 inches
ISBN 9781594631740
Pages/Publication Date 274/2015
Daedalus Item Code 73571
List Price: $27.95
Sale Price: $4.98
You Save: $22.97
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Description
In another of her irreverent history lessons, the author of Unfamiliar Fishes and The Wordy Shipmates gives us an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington's trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette. Drawn to the patriots' war out of his enlightened ideals, a lust for glory, and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette expected to join forces with an undivided people, but found instead the fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, colonial loyalists and rebel patriots, and a plot to fire George Washington, the one man holding the rickety patriot cause together. While Sarah Vowell's yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that remains part of the American landscape even today, 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. Indeed, 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.

"Gilded with snark, buoyant on charm, Vowell's brand of history categorically refuses to take itself—or any of its subjects—too seriously.... At once light-footed and light-hearted, her histories are—dare I say it—fun. And Lafayette is no different.... Vowell emerges from the Revolutionary War with an unabashed smile on her face."—NPR

 
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