We learn ... that the canny thespian John Wilkes Booth, stalking Lincoln that fateful April evening at Ford's Theater, waited for a surefire laugh line to cover his shot; and that the line, a rejoinder in which a female character is dismissed as a ''sockdologizing old man trap,'' hasn't aged all that well. Still, as Vowell writes, ''it is a comfort of sorts to know that the bullet hit Lincoln mid-guffaw. . . . At least his last conscious moment was a hoot.''
I like Sarah Vowell -- from "This American Life" -- and am glad she'll get more attention for her books now that everyone loves her as the voice of Violet, from "The Incredibles." I was just seeing her on C-Span, promoting this book, and she was quite charming, with her cute but profound voice and her flat but expressive intonation.
(I'd buy this as an audiobook, but it's not available on CDs -- only cassette. Too bad!) [ADDED: That's wrong. It is on CD -- at the link provided. Sorry. I've ordered it.]
UPDATE: A reader notes that Vowell makes a special contribution to the deluxe "Incredibles" DVD set, in a piece called "Vowellet":
Author/cast member Sarah Vowell (NPR's This American Life) talks about her first foray into movie voice-overs--daughter Violet--and the unlikelihood of her being a superhero. The feature is unlike anything we've seen on a Disney or Pixar DVD extra, but who else would consider Abe Lincoln an action figure?Sounds like the new book figures into that.