richard.e.edwards, December 4, 2008 (view all comments by richard.e.edwards)
It's a useful and enjoyable book, written for the average reader and not the professional. Only one thing has really disappointed me: Stein doesn't explain how Georgia manage to retain on its border with Alabama the entire Chattahoochee River to the high water mark on the west bank. It seems grossly unfair to Alabama, and I'm curious why Congress allowed it.
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uaimh, September 11, 2008 (view all comments by uaimh)
was expecting an informative historical or geographical work about US boundaries, instead I read a book of stories, and mistruths. I am a geographer by education and profession and I find a book like this without obvious research a danger to learning. There are a number of much more accurate works on the subject. One of the most egregious errors is the statement that George Washington appointed Benjamin Bannecker to survey the DC boundary. Actually Andrew Ellicott was appointed to the position. Bannecker was hired to work as an astronomer with the survey. Since there appears to be a major error every other state, this book is worthless. Does anyome fact check anymore? Read The Fabric of America by Andro Linklater instead or American Boundaries: The Nation, the States, the Rectangular Survey by Bill Hubbard This is one book I will recycle rather than resell.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"America's first century was defined by expansion and the negotiation of territories among areas colonized by the French and Spanish, or occupied by natives. The exact location of borders became paramount; playwright and screenwriter Stein amasses the story of each state's border, channeling them into a cohesive whole. Proceeding through the states alphabetically, Stein takes the innovative step of addressing each border-north, south, east, west-separately. Border stories shine a spotlight on many aspects of American history: the 49th parallel was chosen for the northern borders of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana because they ensured England's access to the Great Lakes, vital to their fur trade; in 1846, Washington D.C. residents south of the Potomac successfully petitioned to rejoin Virginia (called both 'retrocession' and 'a crime') in order to keep out free African-Americans. Aside from tales of violent conquest and political glad-handing, there's early, breathtaking tales of American politicos' favorite sport, gerrymandering (in 1864, Idaho judge Sidney Edgerton single-handedly 'derailed' Idaho's proposed boundary, to Montana's benefit, with $2,000 in gold). American history enthusiasts should be captivated by this fun, informative text." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Library Journal,
"Stein explores the borders of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia....If you ever wondered why Delaware owns a small portion of the southwest New Jersey coast, the answer is here!"
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