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American Nations: A History of the Eleven…
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American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North… (original 2011; udgave 2012)

af Colin Woodard (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
9812915,538 (4.16)1 / 81
The author describes eleven rival regional "nations" in the United States (Yankeedom, New Netherland, the Midlands, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, New France, El Norte, the Left Coast, the Far West, and First Nation), and how these deep roots continue to influence our politics today.
Medlem:rmdcroach
Titel:American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
Forfattere:Colin Woodard (Forfatter)
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: Illustrated, 384 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America af Colin Woodard (2011)

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Viser 1-5 af 29 (næste | vis alle)
A Fresh Perspective on American History
4.5 Stars
After reading “American Nations” on the recommendation of a friend, I was surprised to see the conformity of excellent ratings and reviews on Amazon, as many an Oxen are gored in this history. I was advised before reading it that Mr. Woodard had biased view and made little or no effort to walk a middle path. This is quite true. I’m sure the author has never tuned in to a single broadcast of Fox News. However, However, the seasoned reader can appreciate an honest work from someone on the opposite side of the street, if that writer is objective as he can be. It sometimes up to us readers to interpret in the light of a writer’s mind-set.
Woodard’s bias notwithstanding, this is a very instructional and illuminating history of North America. Early in the book, I was more than a bit skeptical when he put for his main thesis, that the first settlers to a region established its mores and culture and later immigrants assimilated themselves to those values. After Reading the book I am not completely convinced, but I’m considering it. In fact, Mr. Woodard gives us much to think about in “American Nations.” It is the kind of book that one thinks about often long after setting it down.
The book goes off the rails a bit in the epilogue and consequently loses a half star.
( )
  Chipa | Apr 2, 2021 |
A fine tuning and expansion of [Albion's Seed] about the 11 cultural nations created upon their inception and holding firm through time, expansion of influence, and immigrant influxes. A very fascinating and revealing way to understand the hegemony of the Americas. ( )
  snash | Mar 28, 2021 |
An intriguing but flawed book. Woodard's thesis — that America is best understood not as a single culture, or a handful, or a multiplicity, but a discrete 11, whose different values have shaped the country's history — draws on good scholarship and is compelling. The execution is highly uneven, however. Much of the book seems too polemical, as Woodard's contemporary liberalism colors his takes on the virtues and vices of the various cultures. Moreover, the book is most interesting in the distant American past, until the Civil War. As he nears closer to modern times Woodard annoyingly abandons his thesis altogether, condensing the 11 rival cultures into two warring alliances (reflecting, generally speaking, the Democratic and Republican parties) and those caught in between. There's about half of a great book here, and half a shoddy mess. I'd like to see another author take up the idea in a more diligent manner. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
Excellent cultural history of the United States that succinctly explains how the eleven regional cultures of the country influenced history to this day. Anyone with questions needs to read this book! ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
Woodward’s thesis is that the various geographic regions of the present-day United States were originally populated (i.e., conquered) by western European groups that differed in religious, social and political values. These values, in turn, were associated with different goals that became the prevailing characteristics of the area. Although some of the founding groups were quite small (e.g., New Netherlands; New York City), subsequent immigrants that settled in the various areas were assimilated into the prevailing local culture. Consequently, the regional differences evident in the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico are a modern manifestation of the original settlers.

American Nations is organized into four parts. Part one covers the early settlement of the northern Mexico/ southern United States, eastern United States and Canada from 1590-1769. Seven “nations” are introduced; El Norte (northern Mexico and modern day southern California and southern Texas), New France (eastern Canada and subsequently, part of Louisiana), Tidewater (Virginia and Maryland), Yankeedom (present day New England) , New Netherlands (New York City) , the Deep South (the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and eastern Texas), the Midlands (eastern Pennsylvania), and Greater Appalachia (western Pennsylvania and south). Woodward’s arguments in part one are articulately argued and convincing. He explains clearly how the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the original invaders shaped the prevailing and are still evident today. His analysis of the revolutionary war paints a different picture of the nation than the common depiction of a united effort to throw off the tyranny of the United Kingdom. For example, Philadelphia, widely regarded as a cradle of democracy, was a center of loyalists who supported the UK during the American revolution. The reality is more the survival of a splintered nation pursuing multiple and, in many instances, conflicting agendas.

Part Two covers the development of the nation from 1770 to 1815. I found this to be the least coherent part of the book, perhaps, in part, because of the somewhat chaotic efforts of the various areas of the nation to advance their own political agendas. This view will not be completely surprising to those who have read Ron Chernow’s accounting of the efforts of Tidewater and the deep South to hamstring the federal government and sabotage Alexander Hamilton’s efforts to create the necessary components of government. Another factor is Woodward’s use labels (Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, Yankeedom) that do not map uniquely on modern states. That necessitated a frequent search back into earlier chapters to determine who was undertaking various actions and the defining attributes of that group. Another challenge is that the expansion of the original areas to not encompass entire states. Tidewater, the Midlands, the Deep South, and Greater Appalachia are all the dominant influence in portions of modern states but not in the entire state in most instance.

Part Three from 1816 to 1877 covers the civil war and the spread of the population westward. With the exception of the left coast (western California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia), it is the story of the westward expansion of the already established “nations.” Woodward’s explanation of the relative similarity between the left coast and Yankeedom makes good sense; the latter was founded by settlers from Yankeedom. His coverage of the civil war challenges the prevailing story of a war of the North vs. the South. Instead, it depicts a splintered nation that, if it had somehow managed to avoid the war, would have separated into four or so separate nations much like modern day Europe. The precipitating cause of the civil war was not the issue of slavery nor of succession. States in the Deep South succeeded some time before the war began. It was only their decision to attack Fort Sumpter, and the perception that it was an attack on the United Sates, that united the factions.

The final section covers the period from 1878 to 2010 and the founding of the Far West (the western Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma west to the area occupied by the left coast. Most of the section, however, is devoted to the themes that separate the nations today: the role of a strong central government vs. states’ rights; differing views of the worth of human beings and the superiority of the elite; tolerance of human diversity; the relative place of government and religion in society; popular culture; and war as a means of settling disputes and securing political ascendency.

On a practical note, I found the font in the print edition to be too small and the paragraphs too long paragraphs (25 lines in some instances) to be read comfortably. I switched to a digital copy which turned out to be the superior option in this instance. The book also would have been improved by the use of additional maps and diagrams. In an epilogue Woodward sketches several possible alternative futures for the United States. I did not find any to be particularly plausible. I imagine readers will have varied reactions.

The scope of American Nations is daunting, and Woodward’s effort is credible but not altogether convincing in every aspect. Nevertheless, American Nations is a thoughtful analysis that will provide most readers with new perspectives on the development of North America. The themes that seem to emerge generically from the narrative nicely capture many of the differences that divide the United States today. ( )
  Tatoosh | May 20, 2020 |
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The author describes eleven rival regional "nations" in the United States (Yankeedom, New Netherland, the Midlands, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, New France, El Norte, the Left Coast, the Far West, and First Nation), and how these deep roots continue to influence our politics today.

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