I love me some Sarah Vowell and her most recent book (i.e. from Spring 2011), Unfamiliar Fishes was no dissapointment.
“The Spanish-American war had the soliders stopping off in this suddenly American city en route to the Phillippines to persuade the Fillipino people at gunpoint that self-government really isn’t for everyone.” – p.2
“… Americans and their children spent the seventy-eight years between … 1820 and … 1898 Americanizing Hawaii, importing our favorite religion, capitalism, and our second favorite religion, Christianity.” p.6
“… Loco Moco (a hamburger patty topped with gravy and a fried egg), a dish presumably invented to remedy what has always been the hamburger’s most obvious defect – not enough egg.” p.8
“Yale was founded by finnicky protestants who worried that the Puritans at Harvard weren’t puritanical enough. But the Revolutionary War brought the Age of Reason to New Haven, and [Yale’s president] inherited a student body full of deist beatniks on the Enlightenment highway to hell, which is to say France. This generation did not just read Voltaire; they literally addressed each other as “Voltaire” the way kids today call one another dude. Like “Voltaire, I’m so high right now.” P.22