Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Very recommended as an introduction to American cultural history

Colin Woodard presents what could be very dense cultural history in a succinct and informative fashion. The information is presented chronologically, for the most part, jumping between what he identifies as the cultural nations of North America within certain time perio...
Colin Woodard presents what could be very dense cultural history in a succinct and informative fashion. The information is presented chronologically, for the most part, jumping between what he identifies as the cultural nations of North America within certain time periods. Organization is generally top-notch in this book. For that matter, I learned a plethora of little known facts about American history of which I was previously unaware. Woodard makes a strong case for his thesis, but with mixed results. The smooth wording masks a slimmer bibliography than more scholarly texts on this subject, and this work is in some ways a more reader-friendly sequel to David Hackett Fischer's 'Albion's Seed' (this is acknowledged by Woodard). Similarly, the thesis breaks down a bit with regard to the late nineteenth century alliance of Appalachia and the Deep South, as well as the shift from religious to secular cultural dominance in Yankeedom. These holes are significant enough to make the reader question the central thesis of American nations remaining relatively static from their foundation to the present. A future edition of the book may address these issues. In short, this is a must-read for those new to American History, cultural history, or as a pleasant way to learn about North America's past. Colin Woodard is not an academic historian, however, so those looking for a more authoritative treatment of this material may want to look elsewhere.

posted by Skipper7009 on December 6, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

The author has an interesting thesis. But, he has undercut it b

The author has an interesting thesis. But, he has undercut it by making the mistake of analyzing past events using todays cultural attitudes. He further diminishes his anlysis by passing moral judgement based on his own cultural biases. This could have been an import...
The author has an interesting thesis. But, he has undercut it by making the mistake of analyzing past events using todays cultural attitudes. He further diminishes his anlysis by passing moral judgement based on his own cultural biases. This could have been an important work but is instead mediocre due to a lack of discipline by the author.

posted by StephenJon on June 15, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Not for the "my group is right"

    Will definitely cause you to rethink history and the founding of the country. Far more than just the British tale.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    This is a fascinating study on cultural differences between diff

    This is a fascinating study on cultural differences between different regions of North America, and how they don't necessarily agree with State lines. Dialect aficionados will enjoy this a great deal. However, where the center cannot hold in this work is when Woodard tries to set up an argument for good versus evil based on stereotypes from the Civil War era. The idea which he wants us to fight is actually a great deal more pervasive in this country than he believes it to be. As a student of diaspora he should be aware of this. The idea is that a few decide to grow rich on the coerced cheap labor of the many, and there is not a state in the union that hasn't indulged in it at some point in history, though the Deep South's example is the most obvious and arguably the most egregious example. The idea is embedded in corporate culture in this country even now, and it is everywhere in the culture. Woodard seems to believe that defeating one regional subculture in this country will defeat the idea. I think he has come to a dangerously naive conclusion there. You have to confront this idea directly to defeat it. 

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