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State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America

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State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America Cover


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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?
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nimhyea, October 17, 2008 (view all comments by nimhyea)
Looking forward to picking this up especially after hearing of some of the contributing writers!
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(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.
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(95 of 126 readers found this comment helpful)
slim-dixon, September 21, 2008 (view all comments by slim-dixon)
I'm totally into this. The more thoughtful discussion of our states and regions, the better we are for it.
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(208 of 245 readers found this comment helpful)
thelinster, September 11, 2008 (view all comments by thelinster)
The authors' list looks like someone surveyed by book shelves and wrote down my favorites. Can't wait to get it!
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(213 of 229 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

A Panoramic Portrait of America
Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
Weiland, Matt
Wilsey, Sean
by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
Wilsey, Sean
Weiland, Matt
Sociology - General
History, Local
United states
National characteristics, american
United States Description and travel.
American - General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9 x 6 x 1.39288 in 29.36 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
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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