American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

Colin Woodward. Viking, $30 (384p) ISBN 9780670022960
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.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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Paperback - 371 pages
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-54445-7
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-54157-9
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