RED Hearts: The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. RED Hearts will be posting every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through February. Today's RED Hearts post is from Maya-Catherine Popa, 19, of New York, NY, who writes about Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates:

What’s cool in the New Year? Perspective.

Sitting through AP US History can be a trying experience. After a decade of books, plays, and field trips devoted to learning about the puritans, one begins to wish our country’s history had gone a little differently. And, as our prince of political change ushers us forward, Obama pillowcases will not be enough to encourage an understanding of this country’s development.

Luckily for us there is the trademark wit of Sarah Vowell, whose latest book, The Wordy Shipmates, isn’t your high school history textbook. Vowell explores the eccentric, feisty characters who founded the colonies from a fresh perspective--that is, by debunking the myth that the puritans were boring dressers who considered prayer the only pastime.

Puritans have pamphlet feuds. They have sex. They establish Harvard because Anne Hutchison puts the men to shame in the courtroom. They are literate, righteous, and boy have they got tempers.

Most important, we could all use a refresher course in the ideals that early American leaders, like John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, relentlessly held. Remember when vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin (remember her?) insisted she and John McCain believed in “that shining city on a hill, as President Reagan so beautifully said?” Reagan, Kennedy, and countless other politicians have quoted Winthrop’s speech, “A Model of Christian Charity.” Only Palin seems to have missed the saying’s origin. I’m tempted to send her Vowell's book.

See Vowell's fall appearance on The Daily Show here:

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RED Hearts guest poster Maya-Catherine Popa is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which was recently published in paperback.