Doreen's Reviews > American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

American Nations by Colin Woodard
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's review
Apr 21, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 15 to 21, 2012

I really enjoyed this book, more for the cogency of the historical application than for the odd way Colin Woodard thought to use his thesis to forecast possible futures (as a feminist, I found the sexist position of the Greenlanders almost as offensive as the racist theories of the Deep South.) I did think he had a solid case for the 11 different nations, though it's odd that the First Nation is really only dealt with in the epilogue. Otherwise, it's a thought-provoking look at the different societies that wound up forming the countries that make up North America. The best parts of the book date from the first few waves of European colonization up to the Civil War. It becomes a bit more reductive after that, though the part on Quebec is still quite good. It was also clear that Mr Woodard is a Yankee, with their traditional antipathy for the Deep South -- as someone who subscribes to the Midlands/New Netherlands ethos myself, I did not find this as offensive as someone from a different region might. Overall, he offers a pretty balanced view of history, though his mastery of the subject is clearly stronger the further past it is.

I will say that, despite having just finished the book today, I'm already thinking of American politics, primarily, in terms of the different nations. This was a well-written book with strong arguments that cut through a lot of the jingoistic baloney a lot of people put forth as history today. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who cares about the true history of North America.
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Reading Progress

04/15/2012 page 17
4.0% "May be a bit slow with this, as have a ton of writing to do."
04/17/2012 page 105
27.0% "Compelling reading. A lot of it makes sense, too."
04/20/2012 page 219
57.0% "Must finish before returning to the library on Monday."

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