Written By: Sarah Vowell

Narrated By: Sarah Vowell

Date: October 2008

Duration: 7 hours 15 minutes


New York Times bestselling author Sarah Vowell explores the Puritans and their journey to America in The Wordy Shipmates. Even today, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Vowell investigates what that means -- and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance. Along the way she asks:
• Was Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop a communitarian, a Christ-like Christian, or conformity's tyrannical enforcer? Answer: Yes!
• Was Rhode Island's architect, Roger Williams, America's founding freak or the father of the First Amendment? Same difference.
• What was the Puritans' pet name for the Pope? The Great Whore of Babylon.
Sarah Vowell's special brand of armchair history makes the bizarre and esoteric fascinatingly relevant and fun. She takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. The Wordy Shipmates is rich in historical fact, humorous insight, and social commentary by one of America's most celebrated voices. Thou shalt enjoy it.


  • mary reynolds

    ok, she's funny and that is refreshing for a historian, but after a while it grates and detracts from the story.

  • Jess F.

    Sarah Vowell's "the Wordy Shipmates" is a humerous, yet very educational look at our founding fathers. Its focus is on comparing the two main groups of pilgrims who came to Massachusetts, who despite what most of us learned in history class were actually quite different in philosophy and lifestyles. Beyond just giving a history lesson, Vowell also takes the time to relate many of the founders' philosophies to what is happening in present-day America. The only thing that might be a negative to some is the fact that Sarah Vowell herself reads the book: she has a very peculiar voice.I didn't mind it at all,but some do. If you want to hear what it sounds like before renting this book, take a listen to the character violet in the cartoon movie "The Incredibles" - that is Vowell doing the voice.

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by Sarah Vowell

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