This is a funny and thought-provoking examination of Vowell’s personal obsession and America’s greater obsession with the past, with presidents and with their assassinations.
Vowell surveys this topic through a pretty conventional travelogue revolving around her visits to presidential memorials, museums and more obscure sites, some of which no longer exist or are extremely hard to find. But Vowell is really funny writer with a knack for finding the humour in her own love, and her country’s celebration, of some things that I might have expected would only be funny to an outsider. Additionally, she makes some good connections between these past presidents (celebrated or forgotten) and the contemporary presidency, which serve as reminders that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
When I was young, my dad and I did a fair amount of this American history wandering and so there was an added enjoyment for me, as I could imagine myself in some of these places (though I was probably taking them a lot more seriously).
Anyway, I enjoyed this book quite a lot.