Philip's Reviews > Lost States

Lost States by Michael J. Trinklein
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Apr 12, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from March 20 to April 09, 2011

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 lot of the maps were just conjecture in the first place, what's the big deal, people? Nickajack never made it as a state. I've never seen a map of Nickajack until this book.

This was mostly all review, but it was an icing review of entertaining tidbits that are often overlooked by the cake of history.

Sure, there were times when his tongue-in-cheek wit made me question the facts... Does the government include "USA" after New Mexico because people got the licenses confused? Was Washington the most popular and powerful person in his day? Is distance the real reason the Phillippines didn't become a state? ... or are these just the punch lines to the jokes I didn't tell here for fear of copy-right lawsuit reprisals?

I don't know. But I do know I enjoyed the book. The book has a little info on each proposed (sometimes not officially proposed - but there were always inklings of a state forming) state, along with a theoretical map of where it would go. The info for each state is sourced in the back. In an era where citation is becoming a thing of the past, and opinionated blogs are replacing investigative journalism, I apprecitate going to the back of the book to see where Trinklein got his information. It lets me know that if people really have a beef with his wit, they can go to the source and see what the "real story" is.

Surprises?
The number of states proposed out of a fear of Communism
The number of states proposed due to water issues
The number of cities that considered statehood
Texas doesn't need Congressional approval to form itself into new states... how did I miss that one? ...and it can turn itself into 5 states (counting TX itself)...

Connections?
I just read all about William Walker in the book The First Tycoon. That dealt mainly with Walker filibutering (not as we know it) in Nicaragua - but mostly just a thorn in the side of Vanderbilt himself. Here it talks about his attempt to make Baja California into a state - Sonora.


Favorite Person?
William Augustus Bowles. Seriously, how did I never hear about this guy? "...a guy who gets kicked out of the U.S. military, joins a Creek tribe, marries the chief's daughter, consolidates several Native American nations, becomes their king, rallies the native peoples against an evil empire, gets captured and thrown into a Spanish prison, escapes, takes over a British ship, becomes a pirate... takes over a Spanish fort... A huge Spanish force is dispatched to capture him, but they get lost..." He's like a real life Gilgamesh. Only bigger. I'm hoping I can work him into my family tree somehow... even if it's by marriage. To a distant eighth cousin. In-law...


Favorite State?
I don't know. Navassa maybe? Just the thought of being legally allowed to claim any island in the world because it has a bunch of bird poop on it makes me happy. ...A little weird.


Yeah, there are some mistakes. And it's not exhaustive, but it's not meant to be. It's meant to pique your interest and get you looking for stuff on your own. Which I have. I'm thinking about starting my own state. Legally. Not a coup. Hopefully I get mentioned in the second edition.






"Habecker's state, Habeckeria would have been the smallest state in the union - comprising his house, yard, and an eighth of a meter into his alley. But it was not to be. Having only 4 people in the state was deemed imprudent by the 113th Congress. Habeckeria sent two Senators and a Representative anyway - but all were turned away. Upon returning home, he received a fine for leaving his 4 year old daughter unattended as the sole resident of his state, and fine for long grass. As he sat in jail, he realized his goal of statehood was unattainable... for now."
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