Sarah Vowell

discusses

Unfamiliar Fishes

$5 tickets are on sale now

Date

Mar
25
Friday
March 25, 2011
7:00 PM

Location

First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

$5.00 - On Sale Now

Harvard Book Store is thrilled to welcome popular historian SARAH VOWELL as she discusses her newest book, Unfamiliar Fishes.

Many think of 1776 as the defining year of American history, when we became a nation devoted to the pursuit of happiness through self-government. In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as defining, when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded first Cuba, then the Philippines, becoming an international superpower practically overnight. 

Among the developments in these outposts of 1898, Vowell considers the Americanization of Hawaii the most intriguing. From the arrival of New England missionaries in 1820, their goal to Christianize the local heathen, to the coup d'état of the missionaries' sons in 1893, which overthrew the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, and often appealing or tragic, characters: whalers who fired cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their God-given right to whores, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode "Aloha 'Oe" serenaded the first Hawaiian president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade. 

"Ever-clever...Vowell offers a quick, idiosyncratic account of Hawaii from the time Capt. James Cook was dispatched to the then–Sandwich Islands to the end of the 19th century, when the United States annexed the islands.... The author presents the views of the islanders as well as the invaders, as she delves into journals and narratives and takes field trips with local guides. Her characteristic light touch is evident throughout. Lively history and astute sociology make a sprightly chronicle of a gorgeous archipelago and its people." —Kirkus Reviews

Sarah Vowell
Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell is the author of five previous books: the New York Times bestsellers The Wordy Shipmates and Assassination Vacation, as well as The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Take the Cannoli, and Radio On. She was one of the original contributors to McSweeney’s, also participating in many of the quarterly’s readings and shows.  She has been a columnist for Salon, Time, and San Francisco Weekly, and continues to write occasional essays for the opinion page of The New York Times. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, Spin, Esquire, and GQ. Vowell is the president of the board of 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center for students aged six to eighteen in Brooklyn. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Montana, she lives in New York City.

Photo Credit: Bennett Miller

Online ticket sales for this event have ended. Tickets are still available at Harvard Book Store and by phone (617-661-1515). Tickets purchased online can be picked up when the doors open at the First Parish Church, around 6:30pm on Friday, March 25.

First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and look for the newsstand called Crimson Corner. Turn right and proceed north along Mass. Ave. going toward the Cambridge Common. You will pass the Harvard Coop, Bank of America, and CVS. The First Parish Church is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Church St. Please enter through the front door of the church.

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