Sarah Vowell

reads from

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

$5 tickets on sale now

This event includes a book signing

Date

Oct
23
Friday
October 23, 2015
7:00 PM
(Doors at 6:30)

Location

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

Tickets

$5.00 - On Sale Now

Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Wordy Shipmates SARAH VOWELL for a reading from her latest book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette.  

Chronicling General Lafayette’s years in Washington’s army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War.  Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way. 
 
Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause.  
 
While Vowell’s yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past—and present—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. Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, 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.
 
Vowell’s narrative look at our somewhat united states is humorous, irreverent and wholly original.

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

Tickets are also available at Harvard Book Store and over the phone at 617-661-1515. Unless the event is sold out, any remaining tickets will be on sale at the door of the venue when doors open.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-returnable.

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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Event Co-Sponsor(s)

Mass Humanities: http://masshumanities.org/

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