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

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9780670022960: American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

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.

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About the Author:

Colin Woodard is a Maine native and the author of Ocean’s End: Travels Through Endangered Seas. He is a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Review:

"Woodard offers a fascinating way to parse American (writ large) politics and history in this excellent book." ―Kirkus (starred review)

"Woodard explains away partisanship in American Nations... which makes the provocative claim that our culture wars are inevitable.  North America was settled by groups with distinct political and religious value--and we haven't had a moment's peace since." -- Publishers Weekly (Fall 2011 "Top Ten Politics" pick)

"A smart read that feels particularly timely now, when so many would claim a mythically unified "Founding Fathers'' as their political ancestors." -- Boston Globe

"A fascinating new take on our history" -- The Christian Science Monitor

"For people interested in American history and sociology, "American Nations" demands reading." -- St.Louis Post-Dispatch

"[In] offering us a way to better understand the forces at play in the rumpus room of current American politics, Colin Woodard has scored a true triumph" -- The Daily Beast / Newsweek

"Woodard makes a worthwhile contribution by offering an accessible, well-researched analysis with appeal to both casual and scholarly readers." -- Library Journal

"[American Nations'] compelling explanations and apt descriptions will fascinate anyone with an interest in politics, regional culture, or history" -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] compelling and informative attempt to make sense of the regional divides in North America in general and this country in particular....Woodard provides a bracing corrective to an accepted national narrative that too often overlooks regional variations to tell a simpler and more reassuring story. " -- The Washington Post

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Woodard, Colin
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