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The Fabric of America: How Our Borders and Boundaries Shaped the Country and Forged Our National Identity
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The Fabric of America: How Our Borders and Boundaries Shaped the Country and Forged Our National Identity

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  80 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
An evocative and highly original narrative that redefines America's character and identity.
With the same mix of compelling narrative history and captivating historical argument that made his previous book, Measuring America, such a success, Andro Linklater relates in fascinating detail how the borders and boundaries that formed states and a nation inspired the sense of ide
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Walker Books (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dave Woodall
Sep 29, 2007 Dave Woodall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Good book, but more detail than I care to learn about.
Ron
Dec 04, 2007 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have often wondered how arbitrary borders are agreed upon. The Mason and Dixon line between Pennsylvania and Maryland is one of the most famous borders in the world. But most people don't know that Mason and Dixon stopped when they reached the Monongahela River. Their guides and guards, Natives from tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy would not so much as set foot on the other side of the river as it was an agreed upon border. Decades later, a Quaker from Philadelphia named Andrew Ellicott took ...more
Jeff
Apr 03, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very much intrigued by the history of marking the borders of states and invariably the nation of the United States of America. The author draws on how marking these lines was accomplished and how it played in the politics and history of the nation. He concludes with an interesting projection into modern day borders and the future. I was surprised to find an emphasis on the struggle with slavery in the minds of the early Americans, long before the civil war came about. He also treats the to ...more
Adam Grandberg
A fascinating book! We’ve all had geography classes in school, but this book goes into detail about how the state boundaries were actually surveyed and laid out, though the wilderness of the frontier (first, of the Appalachians, then the Mississippi River, and south to Florida). As another reviewer wrote, I had also never heard of Andrew Ellicott before this book, but he was an unsung hero in accurately determining the proper boundaries for the states and the international border with Canada. If ...more
Barbara
The beginning of the book offers an interesting look at Andrew Ellicott's pioneering efforts at mapping the US. After a thorough treatment of Ellicott's and others' efforts, the text seems to hurry through the rest of the boundary lines in the US as the nation did during the next two centuries. An interesting look at US forays into imperialism and then to the most disputed US border today, the Southern border with Mexico. The overview is helpful to an understanding of the US and her citizens, an ...more
Kathy
Jun 02, 2013 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, audio
I checked this out thinking that it might be interesting on a road trip. When that hadn't happened after 14 renewals I decided I'd better get started on my own. It was a little too scholarly for my aged brain, but, if I'd been reading instead of listening there were definitely some good anecdotes and interesting quotes I would have written down-like what Brigham Young said about slavery and how big the proposed State of Deseret was to be.
Todd Van Meter
Aug 12, 2011 Todd Van Meter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fascinating book by Mr. Linklater. His hypothesis regarding a unique American frontier experience and its ties to this country's land ownership laws and methods of acquisition is clearly explained and supported with historical examples. The biographical information about Andrew Ellicott is informative and extremely interesting. This is an entertaining and well written book that provides a very interesting take on an area of American history that is often overlooked.
Rob
Oct 09, 2013 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting, if far-flung history of the shaping of the physical boundaries of the United States. I don't know whether the thesis was only weakly supported, or if I misinterpreted what the author was initially trying to achieve, but there was still lots of interesting history that I hadn't yet encountered.
Cat.
Nov 23, 2012 Cat. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
I have to say that I wouldn't have read this with my eyeballs, but listening to it was remarkably interesting. Not what I expected at all, but a completely different point of view of the expansion of America.
Bill Gordon
Oct 08, 2012 Bill Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this one because I love to read about early American history. Oddly, the last third of the book doesn't really focus so much on determining boundaries of the new states but you do get a ton of interesting history. I would consider reading more by this author.
Caitlin
Jun 06, 2008 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-of-u-s
Interesting book on the rather obscure topic discussing how many of the borders of the states were marked and the significance of them. How did Pennsylvania get its nice southwest corner square? What about Missouri (think Missouri compromise!). Find out here.
David
Apr 23, 2012 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, ebook


Made it more than half-way , but couldn't finish it.
Esther Dyson
Oct 21, 2016 Esther Dyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a wonderful history of early US from a different - geo/cartogrpahical - perspective.
Cheri Stringer
I tried to read this using an audio book, not a good choice. May try again in print.
Imre Sutton
Both historical and environmental,focusing on how dividing up the country, and the role of maps, explorations, etc., established our nation. A kind of historical geography.
Fran Caparrelli
very interesting - most of the early book is set in Pennsylvania
Lance Llyn
Lance Llyn rated it really liked it
Jul 08, 2016
Mallory
Mallory rated it liked it
Feb 23, 2013
John Vanek
John Vanek rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2015
Ilona
Ilona rated it it was ok
Nov 22, 2010
Erik
Erik rated it it was ok
Jan 06, 2009
Talbot Hook
Talbot Hook rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2012
Julie
Julie rated it liked it
Nov 07, 2016
David
David rated it really liked it
May 07, 2014
Toby
Toby rated it liked it
Jan 20, 2008
Jeremy
Jeremy rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2012
Bill
Bill rated it it was amazing
Aug 01, 2012
Riley
Riley rated it really liked it
May 23, 2015
Tommy Schlosser
Was not what I expected, not sure I would read again. It was a bit anti-climactic.
David
David rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2013
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