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American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America | [Colin Woodard]

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

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 11 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....
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Publisher's Summary

An illuminating history of North America's 11 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 11 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 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.

©2011 Colin Woodward (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"Woodard offers a fascinating way to parse American (writ large) politics and history in this excellent book." (Kirkus)

"Woodard explains away partisanship in American Nations... which makes the provocative claim that our culture wars are inevitable. North America was settled by groups with distinct political and religious value - and we haven't had a moment's peace since." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    bookouri Commerce, GA, United States 12-16-13
    bookouri Commerce, GA, United States 12-16-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed this book"
    Would you listen to American Nations again? Why?

    The author submits some interesting ideas that give you lots of things to ponder. I'll read it again some time just to see if I missed anything.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of American Nations?

    No one "memorable" moment. The book was a good consistent read from front o back.


    Have you listened to any of Walter Dixon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't really pay attention to who the readers are. I prefer books that are read by the authors themselves.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The concept of thinking of North America in more logical terms rather than the rather random political borders.


    Any additional comments?

    Toward the end of the book, I thought the author's arguments did not keep up with a changing world. To me the author's "regions" make more sense in a 19th century context than in the 21st century.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 11-18-13
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 11-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "One of the best books I've listened to"

    I've always had a theory similar to this swirling around in my mind, so it's great to see it laid out so well here. America being such a vast land mass, it only makes sense that different areas would be settled by people with different values. A strong case is made that the people who subsequently moved in felt comfortable with the established culture, and therefore reenforced it, rather than stirring the pot. As the book lays out, the dominant cultures in each area have endured over hundreds of years, and there are many parallels to modern regional struggles in each century since contact.

    Not very flattering to the southern regions, and clearly quite liberal in his views, this author might not be your cup of tea if you are a social conservative. But I'm not, so I didn't have a problem with a few interjections sneaking their way in.

    Good length, good pacing, smooth narration. Just a breeze to listen to. Near the top of my list of reccomended books.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Woodcreek, Texas, United States 04-08-12
    Pamela Woodcreek, Texas, United States 04-08-12 Member Since 2012
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    "The Best"
    Would you listen to American Nations again? Why?

    Had to listen twice back to back, more information than I ever knew.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    How it meshed the entire cont.


    What about Walter Dixon’s performance did you like?

    The voice


    If you could give American Nations a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Where we came from and how we got here.


    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 07-09-14
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 07-09-14 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "American history in a new format!"

    This book has you looking at history and politics in a unique way. The author takes you through the original colonies and who the people involved with them were and how they thought, why they came to America and what their goals were.

    We can see that the people who settled in Jamestown were much different than the Pilgrims of Plymouth. One came here to escape religious persecution and build a paradise on earth while the other came to make money and nation build by conquering the indigenous tribes and further the British Empire. Very different goals and the colonies were on a collision course. It's a wonder that we survived as one nation at all.

    There are 11 different cultures in America all with differing goals and attitudes on what this country stands for. This is an interesting read and takes us from the 1500's to the present day with some future forecasts thrown in for good measure.

    The reason I didn't give it a 5 star was because I think some of the facts were skewed or out and out wrong. The Whiskey Rebellion was one and I will do further research to see if his conclusions are right.

    The narrator does a fine job.

    I do highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of this nation and it's political future.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wiznut 06-26-14
    wiznut 06-26-14 Member Since 2013

    A greater understanding is what I seek. With this I hope to enrich my knowledge of life and my legacy. Why Dad?Well here's a head start son

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hidden truths"
    What made the experience of listening to American Nations the most enjoyable?

    The migration, multitude of divers cultures influence on one another, accurate time lines of cultural integrations, European influences on society. The most enjoyable being Naming and separating these groups (Nations) to an extent that you can make sense of the orgy of events,peoples,and locations, to provide a deeper understanding of our true history's.


    What other book might you compare American Nations to and why?

    Never ready anything quite like this. It stands apart.


    Which character – as performed by Walter Dixon – was your favorite?

    Native American and french influences on our culture.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Culture Clash


    Any additional comments?

    The depth and range of this book is staggering. With out a background in history the speed at witch the information is put at you can be daunting. I would suggest listening to it at least 2 times. The second of witch should be taken in bites. All in all i was enlightened and pleased.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheimon New York, NY USA 06-20-14
    Cheimon New York, NY USA 06-20-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Deep divisions of past shed light on present"

    This book goes far beyond what we generally learn about what America looked like "under the hood," especially around Independence, and provides insightful cultural explanations for so many of the inconsistencies and conflicts that plague us today.

    Woodard backs up the lines he draws among the various groups of early immigrants with so much background and so many interesting facts that I have been able to impress even astute students of American history with this book. In his persuasive view, our many modern divisions are the harvest of seeds sown long before the Constitution (about which I also learned some surprising facts). The seeds include not only religion and slavery, but fundamentally different views on freedom, wealth and democracy, and even very different experiences as colonies. The differences between New Englanders and New Yorkers, the cultural nuances among the Western states, the kinship between the Coasts, even the regional differences in unionization make infinitely more sense after listening to American Nations.

    If you have any interest in how the patchwork that is America came into being, you will devour this book.

    Walter Dixon's occasional use of regional or foreign accents are misplaced and sometimes borderline offensive, especially as none of the 17th and 18th century persons he narrates with a neutral accent would sound neutral to modern ears either. He is such an outstanding, funny, intelligent character narrator in fiction, non-fiction just seems to be a waste of his talents.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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