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This title in other editions

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America

by and

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America Cover

 

 Upcoming Event

Sunday, September 21, 2014 07:30 PM
In More Curious (McSweeney's), Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All, travels across the U.S., from the launchpad at Cape Canaveral to the isolated artists' enclave of Marfa, Texas, to the boardrooms and ballrooms of post-9/11 New York City. Wherever he is, Wilsey captures his surroundings with the precision of a photographer and the raw grace of a skateboarder (he's an amateur practitioner of both arts). The essays in More Curious comprise nearly 15 years of Wilsey's most vital work on the glory and the misery, the beauty and absurdity of contemporary America.

See our full selection of signed editions from authors coming to Powell's

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the bestselling editors of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup comes an American road trip in book form: original writing on all 50 states by 50 of our finest novelists, journalists, and essayists.

Inspired by the example of the legendary WPA American Guide series of the 1930s and '40s, now 50 of our foremost writers have produced original pieces of reportage and memoir that capture the 50 states in our time, creating a fresh portrait of America as it lives and breathes today.

At turns poignant and funny, and always insightful, these 50 writers tell us something lasting and revealing about each state through personal memory or contemporary reporting that captures the essential qualities that make each state its own. With an array of revealing facts and figures comparing the 50 states in a range of surprising measures (toothlessness, military enlistment, suicide), State by State is more than an anthology: It is a classic American road movie in book form.

Review:

"This eclectic collection of essays describing the ordinary people and places within our 50 states is as essential as the Rand McNally atlas....Alternately brash and bashful...each literary foray in State by State is well worth the trip. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"In its personalized way, State by State is an antidote to the oversimplifying red state/blue state rubric....Odds are, reading State by State, that you'll fall for every state a little." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"The WPA state guides of the 1930s were intended to 'describe America to Americans' and inspired this wonderful collection of original pieces by 50 writers on the 50 states. No usual suspects here, no sloppy nostalgia....Take this book to the road." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"An intriguing literary collage of personal histories, observations and explorations....[T]he one defining theme of State by State is that, despite the big box stores, the endless stretches of chain restaurants and fast food joints and the dumbing down of culture, the country retains its stubborn, often vibrant tendency toward individuality." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Review:

"Readers with an interest in the endless variety of attitudes, lifestyles, viewpoints, and experiences to be found across America will enjoy this work." Library Journal

Review:

"This ambitious effort features a terrific roster of writers and arrives just in time for the November elections." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This fascinating collection, inspired by WPA guides in the 1930s and 1940s, includes original essays on each of the states by some of the country's finest (mostly younger) writers." Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Review:

"An interesting read....The book is touted as having some wonderful surprises. Indeed, it does." The Oklahoman

Review:

"A funny, moving, rousing collection, greater than the sum of its excellent parts, a convention of literary super­delegates." J.R. Moehringer, New York Times Book Review

Book News Annotation:

Editors and authors Weiland and Wilsey offer a collection of writings on each of the 50 states from novelists and journalists well-known (think Anthony Bourdain, Susan Orlean, and Sarah Vowell) to not so well-known. The brief, and frequently humorous, portraits are a readable argument against the common assumption that America is growing more homogeneous as each year passes. The book is essentially the diary of a country-wide road trip, complete with the detail, character, and characters one can only discover on the road. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

“A funny, moving, rousing collection, greater than the sum of its excellent parts.”

—New York Times Book Review

 

Edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey, State by State is a panoramic portrait of America and an appreciation of all fifty states (and Washington, D.C.) by fifty-one of the most acclaimed writers in the nation.  Contributors include renowned and bestselling authors such as Louise Erdrich, Jonathan Franzen, Ann Patchett, Anthony Bourdain, William T. Vollmann, S.E. Hinton, Dave Eggers, Myla Goldberg, Rick Moody, and Alexander Payne.  Inspired by the Depression-era WPA guides and awarded an “A” grade by Entertainment Weekly, these delightful essays on the American character deliver “the full plumage of American life, in all its riotous glory” (The New Yorker).

Synopsis:

From the bestselling editors of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup comes an American road trip in book form: original writing on all 50 states by 50 of our finest novelists, journalists, and essayists

Inspired by the example of the legendary WPA American Guide series of the 1930s and '40s, now 50 of our foremost writers have produced original pieces of reportage and memoir that capture the 50 states in our time, creating a fresh portrait of America as it lives and breathes today.

At turns poignant and funny, and always insightful, these 50 writers tell us something lasting and revealing about each state through personal memory or contemporary reporting that captures the essential qualities that make each state its own. With an array of revealing facts and figures comparing the 50 states in a range of surprising measures (toothlessness, military enlistment, suicide), State by State is more than an anthology: It is a classic American road movie in book form.

Featuring original writing on all fifty states

Alabama by George Packer
Alaska by Paul Greenberg
Arizona by Lydia Millet
Arkansas by Kevin Brockmeier
California by William T. Vollmann
Colorado by Benjamin Kunkel
Connecticut by Rick Moody
Delaware by Craig Taylor
Florida by Joshua Ferris
Georgia by Ha Jin
Hawaii by Tara Bray Smith
Idaho by Anthony Doerr
Illinois by Dave Eggers
Indiana by Susan Choi
Iowa by Dagoberto Gilb
Kansas by Jim Lewis
Kentucky by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Louisiana by Joshua Clark
Maine by Heidi Julavits
Maryland by Myla Goldberg
Massachusetts by John Hodgman
Michigan by Mohammed Naseehu Ali
Minnesota by Philip Connors
Mississippi by Barry Hannah
Missouri by Jacki Lyden
Montana by Sarah Vowell
Nebraska by Alexander Payne
Nevada by Charles Bock
New Hampshire by Will Blythe
New Jersey by Anthony Bourdain
New Mexico by Ellery Washington
New York by Jonathan Franzen
North Carolina by Randall Kenan
North Dakota by Louise Erdrich
Ohio by Susan Orlean
Oklahoma by S.E. Hinton
Oregon by Joe Sacco
Pennsylvania by Andrea Lee
Rhode Island by Jhumpa Lahiri
South Carolina by Jack Hitt
South Dakota by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
Tennessee by Ann Patchett
Texas by Cristina Henríquez
Utah by David Rakoff
Vermont by Alison Bechdel
Virginia by Tony Horwitz
Washington by Carrie Brownstein
West Virginia by Jayne Anne Phillips
Wisconsin by Daphne Beal
Wyoming by Alexandra Fuller

and an afterword on Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Edward P. Jones

Synopsis:

See America with 50 of Our Finest, Funniest, and Foremost Writers Anthony Bourdain chases the fumigation truck in Bergen County, New Jersey

Dave Eggers tells it straight: Illinois is Number 1

Louise Erdrich loses her bikini top in North Dakota

Jonathan Franzen gets waylaid by New York's publicist...and personal attorney...and historian...and geologist

John Hodgman explains why there is no such thing as a "Massachusettsean"

Edward P. Jones makes the case: D.C. should be a state!

Jhumpa Lahiri declares her reckless love for the Rhode Island coast

Rick Moody explores the dark heart of Connecticut's Merritt Parkway, exit by exit

Ann Patchett makes a pilgrimage to the Civil War site at Shiloh, Tennessee

William T. Vollmann visits a San Francisco S&M club and Many More!

Video

About the Author

Matt Weiland is the Deputy Editor of the Paris Review. He has been an editor at Granta, the Baffler and the New Press, and he oversaw a documentary radio unit at NPR. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, New York Observer, the Nation and the New Republic. He is the co-editor, with Sean Wilsey, of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup and, with Thomas Frank, of Commodify Your Dissent: The Business of Culture in the New Gilded Age. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

Sean Wilsey is the author of Oh the Glory of It All, a memoir. He is also an Editor-at-Large for McSweeney's, and the co-editor, with Matt Weiland, of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup.

Table of Contents

Preface by Matt Weiland
Introduction by Sean Wilsey

The 50 States:
Alabama by George Packer
Alaska by Paul Greenberg
Arizona by Lydia Millet
Arkansas by Kevin Brockmeier
California by William T. Vollmann
Colorado by Benjamin Kunkel
Connecticut by Rick Moody
Delaware by Craig Taylor
Florida by Joshua Ferris
Georgia by Ha Jin
Hawaii by Tara Bray Smith
Idaho by Anthony Doerr
Illinois by Dave Eggers
Indiana by Susan Choi
Iowa by Dagoberto Gilb
Kansas by Jim Lewis
Kentucky by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Louisiana by Joshua Clark
Maine by Heidi Julavits
Maryland by Myla Goldberg
Massachusetts by John Hodgman
Michigan by Mohammed Naseehu Ali
Minnesota by Philip Connors
Mississippi by Barry Hannah
Missouri by Jacki Lyden
Montana by Sarah Vowell
Nebraska by Alexander Payne
Nevada by Charles Bock
New Hampshire by Will Blythe
New Jersey by Anthony Bourdain
New Mexico by Ellery Washington
New York by Jonathan Franzen
North Carolina by Randall Kenan
North Dakota by Louise Erdrich
Ohio by Susan Orlean
Oklahoma by S.E. Hinton
Oregon by Joe Sacco
Pennsylvania by Andrea Lee
Rhode Island by Jhumpa Lahiri
South Carolina by Jack Hitt
South Dakota by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
Tennessee by Ann Patchett
Texas by Cristina Hernriquez
Utah by David Rakoff
Vermont by Alison Bechdel
Virginia by Tony Horwitz
Washington by Carrie Brownstein
West Virginia by Jayne Anne Phillips
Wisconsin by Daphne Beal
Wyoming by Alexandra Fuller

Afterword on Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Edward P. Jones

The 50 States in Numbers:
Population
Population increase
Foreign-born population
No religion
Birth rate
Median age
Gross state product
Bankruptcy filings
Military recruits
Best educated
Public education expenditure
Divorce rate
Suicide rate
Violent crime
Incarceration rate
Oil consumption
Gasoline consumption
Alcohol consumption
Cigarette consumption
Cocaine use
Marijuana use
No health insurance
Ever breastfed
Toothless residents
Overweight and obese
Highest monthly temperature
Lowest monthly temperature

About the Contributors

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

RBHolb, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by RBHolb)
Some of the essays were very good. A few of the contributions raised my eyebrows: Could they not find a capable writer who spent more than a fortnight in South Dakota? Was Anthony Bourdain really a good choice for New Jersey? Why does everything written about Minnesota have to pay homage to Garrison Keillor?
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
nimhyea, October 17, 2008 (view all comments by nimhyea)
Looking forward to picking this up especially after hearing of some of the contributing writers!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(21 of 44 readers found this comment helpful)
Matthew Silva, September 27, 2008 (view all comments by Matthew Silva)
An absolutely fabulous book. 50 essays by 50 writers, each writer tackling a different state. The roll call or writers who showed up for this anthology is impressive: Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, William T. Vollman, Rick Moody, Lydia Millet, Kevin Brockmeier, Jhumpa Lahari, and SE Hinton just to name a few. Some of the essays are written by natives of the state and some are by folks who have spent a good amount of time there, but almost without exception, each essay shines. Also includes a conversation with Edward P. Jones on Washington, D.C. This is just a wonderful book and a great way to take a cheap trip across our varied nation. Highly recommended for everyone.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(95 of 126 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061470905
Subtitle:
A Panoramic Portrait of America
Author:
Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
Editor:
Wilsey, Sean
Editor:
Weiland, Matt
Author:
Wilsey, Sean
Author:
Weiland, Matt
Author:
by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
Publisher:
Ecco
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
History, Local
Subject:
United states
Subject:
History
Subject:
National characteristics, american
Subject:
United States Description and travel.
Subject:
Americana
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Essays
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20080916
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A.”
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
608
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.39288 in 29.36 oz

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Related Subjects

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History and Social Science » Americana » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » Americana » General

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 608 pages Ecco - English 9780061470905 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This eclectic collection of essays describing the ordinary people and places within our 50 states is as essential as the Rand McNally atlas....Alternately brash and bashful...each literary foray in State by State is well worth the trip. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "In its personalized way, State by State is an antidote to the oversimplifying red state/blue state rubric....Odds are, reading State by State, that you'll fall for every state a little."
"Review" by , "The WPA state guides of the 1930s were intended to 'describe America to Americans' and inspired this wonderful collection of original pieces by 50 writers on the 50 states. No usual suspects here, no sloppy nostalgia....Take this book to the road."
"Review" by , "An intriguing literary collage of personal histories, observations and explorations....[T]he one defining theme of State by State is that, despite the big box stores, the endless stretches of chain restaurants and fast food joints and the dumbing down of culture, the country retains its stubborn, often vibrant tendency toward individuality."
"Review" by , "Readers with an interest in the endless variety of attitudes, lifestyles, viewpoints, and experiences to be found across America will enjoy this work."
"Review" by , "This ambitious effort features a terrific roster of writers and arrives just in time for the November elections."
"Review" by , "This fascinating collection, inspired by WPA guides in the 1930s and 1940s, includes original essays on each of the states by some of the country's finest (mostly younger) writers."
"Review" by , "An interesting read....The book is touted as having some wonderful surprises. Indeed, it does."
"Review" by , "A funny, moving, rousing collection, greater than the sum of its excellent parts, a convention of literary super­delegates."
"Synopsis" by ,

“A funny, moving, rousing collection, greater than the sum of its excellent parts.”

—New York Times Book Review

 

Edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey, State by State is a panoramic portrait of America and an appreciation of all fifty states (and Washington, D.C.) by fifty-one of the most acclaimed writers in the nation.  Contributors include renowned and bestselling authors such as Louise Erdrich, Jonathan Franzen, Ann Patchett, Anthony Bourdain, William T. Vollmann, S.E. Hinton, Dave Eggers, Myla Goldberg, Rick Moody, and Alexander Payne.  Inspired by the Depression-era WPA guides and awarded an “A” grade by Entertainment Weekly, these delightful essays on the American character deliver “the full plumage of American life, in all its riotous glory” (The New Yorker).

"Synopsis" by ,

From the bestselling editors of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup comes an American road trip in book form: original writing on all 50 states by 50 of our finest novelists, journalists, and essayists

Inspired by the example of the legendary WPA American Guide series of the 1930s and '40s, now 50 of our foremost writers have produced original pieces of reportage and memoir that capture the 50 states in our time, creating a fresh portrait of America as it lives and breathes today.

At turns poignant and funny, and always insightful, these 50 writers tell us something lasting and revealing about each state through personal memory or contemporary reporting that captures the essential qualities that make each state its own. With an array of revealing facts and figures comparing the 50 states in a range of surprising measures (toothlessness, military enlistment, suicide), State by State is more than an anthology: It is a classic American road movie in book form.

Featuring original writing on all fifty states

Alabama by George Packer
Alaska by Paul Greenberg
Arizona by Lydia Millet
Arkansas by Kevin Brockmeier
California by William T. Vollmann
Colorado by Benjamin Kunkel
Connecticut by Rick Moody
Delaware by Craig Taylor
Florida by Joshua Ferris
Georgia by Ha Jin
Hawaii by Tara Bray Smith
Idaho by Anthony Doerr
Illinois by Dave Eggers
Indiana by Susan Choi
Iowa by Dagoberto Gilb
Kansas by Jim Lewis
Kentucky by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Louisiana by Joshua Clark
Maine by Heidi Julavits
Maryland by Myla Goldberg
Massachusetts by John Hodgman
Michigan by Mohammed Naseehu Ali
Minnesota by Philip Connors
Mississippi by Barry Hannah
Missouri by Jacki Lyden
Montana by Sarah Vowell
Nebraska by Alexander Payne
Nevada by Charles Bock
New Hampshire by Will Blythe
New Jersey by Anthony Bourdain
New Mexico by Ellery Washington
New York by Jonathan Franzen
North Carolina by Randall Kenan
North Dakota by Louise Erdrich
Ohio by Susan Orlean
Oklahoma by S.E. Hinton
Oregon by Joe Sacco
Pennsylvania by Andrea Lee
Rhode Island by Jhumpa Lahiri
South Carolina by Jack Hitt
South Dakota by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
Tennessee by Ann Patchett
Texas by Cristina Henríquez
Utah by David Rakoff
Vermont by Alison Bechdel
Virginia by Tony Horwitz
Washington by Carrie Brownstein
West Virginia by Jayne Anne Phillips
Wisconsin by Daphne Beal
Wyoming by Alexandra Fuller

and an afterword on Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Edward P. Jones

"Synopsis" by , See America with 50 of Our Finest, Funniest, and Foremost Writers Anthony Bourdain chases the fumigation truck in Bergen County, New Jersey

Dave Eggers tells it straight: Illinois is Number 1

Louise Erdrich loses her bikini top in North Dakota

Jonathan Franzen gets waylaid by New York's publicist...and personal attorney...and historian...and geologist

John Hodgman explains why there is no such thing as a "Massachusettsean"

Edward P. Jones makes the case: D.C. should be a state!

Jhumpa Lahiri declares her reckless love for the Rhode Island coast

Rick Moody explores the dark heart of Connecticut's Merritt Parkway, exit by exit

Ann Patchett makes a pilgrimage to the Civil War site at Shiloh, Tennessee

William T. Vollmann visits a San Francisco S&M club and Many More!

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