In PCP, Vowell combined a quirky sense of humor, tourism, and history lessons to produce a funny, yet thought-provoking read. It’s the kind of book that makes you laugh at exactly how silly and strangely loveable the culture you grew up in can be.
Vowell continues that tradition in Assassination Vacation. She points out all the little silly, and often sad, bits of our history. As she talks, you don’t get the sense that she’s talking like your old history teacher; instead, you’re left with the impression that she’s a tourist and pilgrim.
In a way, she reminds me of a lot of people in Italy: One of the things that struck me about Italy was that completely random people knew lots of local history. And not only did they know it, they were eager to share it. They could expound on thousands of years of history, that happened right in the town where they live and work. Really, if there’s any single reason to read Assassination Vacation, it’s that it’s delightful to see someone so excited to know completely arcane trivia.