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Publisher Description

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 (author of American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good)  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.

September 29
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

mindphalanx ,

American Nations

I great big brushstrokes picture of American Geo-Ethnic History. Basically, the premise of the book is that various regions of the USA have their own cultural legacy (see Malcolm Gladwell "Outliers"), which determine their politics and social order more so any any particular ethnic group. Essentially, the USA is more of a confederation of competing political and social orders in different regions, and not a monolithic country.
The author reasonably explains a variety of historical conflicts through this lens. The explanations are satisfying, and continue to the present day. His explanation of the political coalitions which have dominated at different times is very plausible. IT bears relevance to the current times, and explain why the Republican PArty, despite being essentially a Deep Southern party, which virtually no Latin American or African-American members, has a dominance all out of proportion to their numbers, and indeed even the popularity of their agenda.

BoldCoast ,


Woodard is a highly underrated historian and ought to be required reading.

John Kannon ,

Huge Disappointment

This book was not good for me personally, but I can see the draw to others. I find history interesting, but not much in this book speaks to my specific interests. The text is super dense and just seems like the reader gets pelted with facts. I found it arduous to read and found myself wishing that the book would end. I ended up reading less than 1/3 of the book even though I had a test on it.

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