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American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North Americaby Colin Woodard
Synopses & Reviews
An illuminating history of North America's eleven rival cultural regions that explodes the red state-blue state myth.
North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or assimilate into an "American" or "Canadian" culture, but rather into one of the eleven distinct regional ones that spread over the continent each staking out mutually exclusive territory.
In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent, and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations, which conform to neither state nor international boundaries. He illustrates and explains why "American" values vary sharply from one region to another. Woodard reveals how intranational differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent's history, from the American Revolution and the Civil War to the tumultuous sixties and the "blue county/red county" maps of recent presidential elections. American Nations is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America's myriad identities and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and are molding our future.
"Historian and journalist Woodward's new take on American history identifies the original cultural settlements that became the United States, and proceeds with the thesis that these regional and cultural divisions are responsible for clashes stretching back to Revolutionary times. The 11 nations don't follow state or even country territory lines, but rather the paths taken by the earliest settlers of these areas; while later immigrants added to the mix, they didn't change the fundamental culture. Woodward (The Republic of Pirates) uses this hypothesis to explain the Civil War, regional differences in education philosophies and voting patterns, even the disparate mentalities of northern and southern Californians. Concern for the future closes the book, citing 'classic symptoms of an empire in decline': U.S. economic difficulties, 'extreme political dysfunction,' a politically divided population, and ongoing wars. Despite that pessimistic note, the book's compelling explanations and apt descriptions will fascinate anyone with an interest in politics, regional culture, or history. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An endlessly fascinating look at American regionalism and the eleven "nations" that continue to shape North America
According to award-winning journalist and historian Colin Woodard, North America is made up of eleven distinct nations, each with its own unique historical roots. In American Nations he takes readers on a journey through the history of our fractured continent, offering a revolutionary and revelatory take on American identity, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and continue to mold our future. From the Deep South to the Far West, to Yankeedom to El Norte, Woodard reveals how each region continues to uphold its distinguishing ideals and identities today, with results that can be seen in the composition of the U.S. Congress or on the county-by-county election maps of presidential elections.
About the Author
Colin Woodard is a writer, historian, and journalist who has reported from more than fifty foreign countries and six continents. He is a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and his work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Economist, Smithsonian, The Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsweek.com. He is the author of The Republic of Pirates, The Lobster Coast and Ocean's End. He lives in Portland, Maine.
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