OCTOBER 15-18, 2020

and year round


Lafayette in the Somewhat United States - Sarah Vowell - <span class="date-display-single">10/30/2015 - 7:00pm</span>

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

10/30/2015 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301 & 302

From the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and Unfamiliar Fishes, a humorous and insightful account of the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette–the one Frenchman we could all agree on–and an insightful portrait of a nation’s idealism and its reality.  
On August 16, 1824, an elderly French gentlemen sailed into New York Harbor and giddy Americans were there to welcome him. Or, rather, to welcome him back. It had been thirty years since the Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette had last set foot in the United States, and he was so beloved that 80,000 people showed up to cheer for him.
The entire population of New York at the time was 120,000. Lafayette’s arrival in 1824 coincided with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Congress had just fought its first epic battle over slavery, and the threat of a Civil War loomed. But Lafayette, belonging to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction, was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what they wanted this country to be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans, it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing singular past. 
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is a humorous and insightful portrait of the famed Frenchman, the impact he had on our young country, and his ongoing relationship with some of the instrumental Americans of the time, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and many more.
Doors will open at 6:05 PM.  Seating is set to capacity. We will offer overflow seating in the adjoining room with event broadcast on closed-circuit television. 

Sarah Vowell

About Presenter Sarah Vowell


Sarah Vowell is the New York Times bestselling author of nonfiction books on American history and culture, including Unfamiliar FishesThe Wordy ShipmatesAssassination VacationThe Partly Cloudy Patriot, as well as the essay collections Take the Cannoli and Radio On.  She was a contributing editor for This American Life as well as one of the original contributors to McSweeney’s. She has been a columnist for SalonTime and San Francisco Weekly and continues to write occasional essays for the opinion page of the New York Times. Vowell has made numerous appearances on the Late Show with David LettermanLate Night with Conan O’Brien and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.   She is the voice of teen superhero Violet Parr in Brad Bird’s Academy Award-winning The Incredibles, a Pixar Animation Studios film.  


Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

Madison Public Library logo

201 W. Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703


join the conversation #wibookfest

we couldn't do it without you: