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Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It
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Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  522 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
Everyone knows the fifty nifty united states—but what about the hundreds of other statehood proposals that never came to pass? Lost States is a tribute to such great unrealized dreams as West Florida, Texlahoma, Montezuma, Rough and Ready, and Yazoo. Some of these states came remarkably close to joining the Union. Others never had a chance. Many are still trying. Consider: ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Quirk Books (first published April 12th 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Nov 04, 2010 Rachel rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2010
I saw this book come through at my library, and I thought "What a great topic for a book!" And it is a great topic. It's too bad it was, in my opinion, really mishandled.

The book has quite a bit of breadth (74 "states" are covered), but no depth. Each "state" gets two pages, one of which is a full-page map. The facing page contains more pictures (which are often only tangentially related to the topic); lots of tepid, uncreative jokes; and a little information.

The maps range from interesting to
Terry Carroll
Sep 05, 2013 Terry Carroll rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, I really did. But it's replete with errors, and for a book that purports to be non-fiction, that's a fatal flaw for me (especially when it's subtitled "True stories of..."). I recognize that this is not an academic textbook, and the author has raised that as his defense, but really, there's no excusing some of the slop here.

I found three errors myself, and I'm not particularly knowledgeable in this area:

1) President McKinley's first name was William, not James. ("Phil
Mar 25, 2011 Sesana rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
I almost really loved this one. It covers many, but not all, failed states. Each one gets a one page profile, plus a full page map created by the author, usually by superimposing the proposed state on an existing map. It was interesting, for the most part, though occassionally repetitive. Many of them were simply failed proposals to divide territories, so not much to say. Some of them can't be taken even remotely seriously. Who really thinks that the European country of Albania has ever seriousl ...more
Mar 20, 2011 Philip rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As a Social Studies teacher I'm always looking for books that make history a bit more interesting. With that said, being a Social Studies teacher makes that incredibly difficult. Since I already find it interesting, I don't know if something is interesting because it is, or because I'm already predisposed to thinking it is...

I thought this book was pretty dang interesting. And funny. Yeah, there were some errors on a couple maps - and maybe they should have been caught by somebody... but since a
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 22, 2015 Nathaniel rated it it was ok
A poor book about a fascinating subject.

I give the author credit for his maps, which are mostly lovely, and for a handful of interesting "local knowledge" facts; I had no idea, for example, that Chicago and downstate Illinois were joined together on purpose by Congress to keep downstate from seceding during the Civil War. This makes the book worth checking out of the library once.

Unfortunately, the writing is otherwise awful, thanks to the author's lack of objectivity, flippant attitude toward
Trinklein, Michael J. True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States that Never Made It. Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2010.

This was a really interesting book. Though by book, it is not so much a narrative, but closer to an encyclopedia of states that wanted to be states but never were states. Within each entry, however, the writing is clear and amusing as well as being informative. This book is great for the American history enthusiasts or for that person who just likes to know about tr
Newton Public Library Iowa
Ever heard of the state of Lincoln? Probably not; it doesn't exist. But, if you've ever driven through northern Idaho, you've passed through what many natives wanted to be Lincoln, U.S.A. Did you know that if President Buchanan had had his way in 1853, the Mexican states of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Baja California would be part of the United States? Find these and many other interesting tidbits of Americana in Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made I ...more
Apr 08, 2010 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I love books with this kind of historical trivia, but some of the glaring factual mistakes/typos in it detracted from my enjoyment. It refers to President William McKinley as "James McKinley" (p. 101), and refers to President Buchanan in 1853 (p. 68), when President Buchanan didn't take office until 1857. The event the book referred to did take place in 1853 under President Pierce. These and minor typos such as misspelling the town of Decatur, IL as "Decator", made me wonder whether the other th ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Dan rated it it was ok
Shelves: oversize, geography
An interesting concept, executed poorly. Was very disappointed in the lack of depth and glossing over the majority of the interesting details, usually to make far-too-easy jokes.

If anything, the book reinforced the importance of political geography that I read about in Prisoners of Geography, but this was boring and shallow.

That's what I get for buying at a bookstore that has everything 70% off. Not all independent bookstores are good bookstores...
Mar 12, 2010 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, usa, maps
This is an awesome book - a somewhat cheeky history of states that never were and, in most cases, never should be. From reading this book I have discovered that the top three reasons for making a new state are (in order):

1) Money (you have a lot and you want to cut out the poor people in the other half of the state);

2) Dislike of people who aren't like you (different language, religion, hairstyle etc.);

3) Being a crazy person who believes that they have some mystical insight into the way the wor
Jun 22, 2010 HBalikov rated it it was ok
Great idea that is poorly executed. Molly, the editors should never have allowed the errors to get into print. Still it has a lot of pretty maps and the idea of how otherwise this country could have been divided is fine for musing.
Suggestion: Make your library acquire it and save the expense since it is unlikely to be something you want on your shelf.
Christy Stewart
Mar 23, 2010 Christy Stewart rated it really liked it
Fun and interesting information in a friendly format beside beautiful maps. A great choice for a coffee table book.

I was hoping for more information and less commentary but beggers can't be choosers.

I wish Yazoo had become a state...
Quinn Rollins
Oct 19, 2011 Quinn Rollins rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
We all know the fifty states as they are today. And for those of us who have grown up since Alaska and Hawaii were admitted fifty years ago, it seems like there have always been fifty, and will always be fifty. But the real history of the United States has been much more fluid than that. Over the course of the last few centuries, there have been hundreds of proposals for states, and only fifty of them made the cut. Author Michael J. Trinklein has sorted through the others—the ones that didn't ma ...more
Dec 30, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it

Who wants to live in the breakaway territory of Nataqua? Apparently no women did, so it failed to acquire the population necessary for statehood. Anyone favor living in “Transylvania”? It was a failed state, in what would later become Kentucky, proposed by Daniel Boone. How about the state known as “Chicago”? You read that last sentence right, the great city of “Chicago” once had aspirations of becoming its’ own state. This was mostly born out of anger at not having enough representation in th
Jul 14, 2010 Alan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Antiquarians, amateur cartographers and alternate-world enthusiasts
Recommended to Alan by: Don't remember now... Powell's, maybe
The boundaries we see on maps of the United States are so familiar and stable that they might as well be carved into the very bedrock of North America... right? Well, that turns out not to be the case. The shapes of the fifty states, their number, and even the physical extent of the U.S. as a whole could have turned out very differently indeed, had various historical tipping points gone the other way.

This slim large-format book starts out as a fascinating A-to-Z compendium of those might-have-be
Apr 08, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
This is another book that I won in a contest from GoodReads First Reads. It’s actually one I might have picked up at the bookstore anyway because I’m always interested in offbeat historical information.

First off, the book was extremely entertaining. If I hadn’t had so many interruptions, I probably would have read it in one sitting. It’s really a fast read. The stories are concise (1 page in length) and the maps give added context. Add to that, the author throws in some humor to make it even mor
Won through Goodreads.
Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made it is a book that's right up my alley. I love history and geography and this book combines both of them. :) The book gave lots of really great information about why different states didn't make it. Most were just little pipe dreams, some actually came very close to statehood, and others are other countries that might've become territories if not states. I was hoping for a bit more in dept
This could have been a four-star book: the subject matter is interesting and entertaining, and the maps are great (for people that like maps). Basically, each state-that-almost-was is presented in two to four pages, with a well-drawn map or overlay to historical maps, along with some illustrations.

The only problem was the entirely gratuitous contemporary politics brought into it. For some reason the author found it necessary to insult G.W. Bush several times throughout the book. The comparisons
Apr 08, 2010 kim rated it really liked it
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads program and I'm glad I did! What a fun book! You certainly could read it straight through, but it is a lot more fun to pick it up and read about a few states at a time and really savor the book. This book tells the stories of states that 'might have been'. The first one I read was about the state of Chicago. It came as a big surprise to me as a girl from downstate (anything outside of Chicago!) that in the early 1900's Chicago tried to ...more
Jun 18, 2014 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, humor
From the earliest history of the United States to the present day, here are seventy-four stories of States that didn't make the cut. The stories of failed attempts to carve up what would eventually become the fifty States, and a few that are well beyond the current borders where the USA has attempted to expand either by design or the instigation of individuals as famous as Daniel Boone to a lot of historical figures who might be completely forgotten except for books like this.

This isn't entirel
This was a fun little volume. Each 2-page spread contained a map on one side of the territory in question and a textual history on the other. The histories are light and light-hearted, more of a cocktail-party discussion than historical dissertation.

The list of proposals and oddities included are really widely spread, from failed colonial ventures through 1800's colonial adventurism to more modern protest publicity stunts. Added to that are various foreign territories and countries that someone
Mar 23, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, first-reads
An entertaining coffee-table or bathroom book with great maps and short descriptions of over 70 states that never came into being. Many were never more than a gleam in the eye of a potential founder but others almost made it to the map. The maps of each "state" are good quality and the dust cover unfolds to reveal a fictional map of the US.

Unfortunately, in the first-reads edition I received, the editor missed several errors, some mentioned in other reviews. The one that jumped out at me was in
Lake County Public Library Indiana
“This book could be shelved not only in the Geography section, but also in the Humor area. I was completely surprised at how funny Trinklein is (think Dave Barry). A quick read, but very informative. Trinklein takes us through an alphabetical listing of states that ‘could have been.’ Interestingly, many of these proposed states might have been on the map if not for one thing holding it back – population. Many smaller areas of one state disagreed with politics or lifestyles going on in a larger a ...more
Mar 23, 2010 Karina rated it really liked it
I won this book in Goodreads First Reads. Calculating my odds would be too much trouble: there were 50 copies available, and 1544 people requesting, so the odds are approximately 3%.

It's been over a month, and I haven't received the book.


I contacted the person who organized the giveaway, and I finally got the book! It's a cool book. I like the fact that the book jackets unfolds into a map on the back.

It's humorous! I didn't expect that. One of the first things I noticed was this state on th
Jun 24, 2010 Todd rated it it was ok
This book could have been much better, but suffered from the author's tone of trying to make everything funny. Published by Quirk Books, I was not entirely surprised that humor won out over information, but the amount of research that the author apparently did for this book was not best captured in this presentation. I'd almost like to see a companion book by the author, published with more information about fewer of the lost states. Which brings up another flaw in this book: while many of the c ...more
Aug 01, 2011 Jim added it
This book is a quick, fascinating read. It's full of short (1 or 2 pages) descriptions of some proposals for states that never made it along with maps showing their would be locations. Some of them, like the State of Superior (UP & part of Wisconsin), you've heard of. Lots of other you haven't heard of. Including some foreign countries or parts of foreign countires. Who knew Albania is nuts for anything American?

I bet you didn't know that Montezuma didn't become a state back in 1875 because
Mindy Detweiler
Apr 16, 2010 Mindy Detweiler rated it really liked it
I won this as part of Library Thing's Early reviewer program.

This book is a hoot. Not only does it give some of the ridiculous names for states Forgottonia, Half-Breed Tracts, and No Man's Land to name a few. But it also goes into alittle of the history behind each of these state requests.

Did you know that when they made Mount Rushmore that they wanted a state that was mainly there becasue of Mount Rushmore?

Albania (the Country) loves America so much it wouldlike to become a state?

Boston wanted
Jun 19, 2013 Nancy rated it did not like it
This book should be read only by cartography enthusiasts, should such an individual exist. There are no redeeming qualities to the text itself. None. Most of these stories are WAY oversensationalized by the author (perhaps to sell more books?). As another reviewer has pointed out, each "lost state" is detailed (if you could call it that) in a full 2 page spread, where one page is a map and the facing page is text complete with attention grabbing font sizes. Witness the entry for England, (yes, T ...more
Miss Clark
Mar 14, 2010 Miss Clark rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in history, esp. American
Shelves: historical
A nice blend of history and humor, this collection was inspired by the author's fascination with the many failed attempts to create different states, new states and varied combinations of already existing states. A great read for anyone at all interested in history and how the shifting boundaries of countries and states can have such a powerful effect on world events.

I found the stories about Nickajack, Rio Rico, Lost Dakota, Howland Island and one of the earlier proposals for Minnesota that con
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