cover image Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

Sarah Vowell, read by the author and multiple narrators. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 7.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-9108-6

Vowell’s jocular and cheerfully irreverent account of Marquis de Lafayette, the teenage French general who became an unlikely hero in the United States during the Revolutionary War, proves both insightful and amusing. Her combination of well-researched, obscure details; personal anecdotes; and references to recent events adds plenty of sparkle to an old tale. Vowell enlists the aid of an impressive array of comedians and television stars to add color and variety to the audio edition. Mad Men actor John Slattery, for example, gives voice to Lafayette, while comedians Nick Offerman and Patton Oswalt play the roles of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. Unfortunately, because these historical characters speak only through quotes in the text and not full dialogue, the listening experience can be a bit disjointed. A Riverhead hardcover. (Nov.)