I've had Sarah Vowell on my reading list ever since reading Nick Hornby's reading reviews, and the need for a "V" author propelled her up the stack. The Wordy Shipmateslooks at the early years of the Puritan settlements in America, reading the diaries of Winthrop, Williams, and others to see what they thought as well as what they did. Vowell doesn't hesitate to make judgements or call even her favorite players on inconsistency, but she also shows a hearty respect for the people involved.
It's definitely a second order book; it helps to have a good idea of the general sweep of the history, because she tends to focus in on specific events and people. I enjoyed the history lesson with the spoonful of humor to make it tasty. B+