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Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Engaging Enough Even for Non-Geography/History Fans

    Pros: 1) Extremely informative as a fun, historical text. 2) The maps (and their approximations) are also very fascinating to look at, particularly because it provokes the reader to think about how different life might be if these "lost states" had never been lost in the first place.

    Cons: 1) Rather pedestrian writing style. I was expecting it to be a bit more academic and less as a "coffee table" book. However, the writing is clearly designed to appeal to a broader swath of readers, particularly those who are not geography or history buffs. 2) Some of the information presented as facts could have been better served with footnotes or references. Some of the passages I read made me wonder if they were slightly embellished for the "wow" effect or if they were actually true.

    Overall, I really like this book. I am definitely considering purchasing it as a gift for my friends who have an interest in geography and history. It's a great book to have lying around for when guests come over and want to browse through something that is more engaging than just flipping through pictures.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Quirky take on statehood and failure.

    Lost States is a captivating read. You need not be a history scholar (although an interest helps!)

    The entries are in alphabetical order (I would have preferred a geographical order) and are fun,fast reads full of quirky geographical history of the many proposed states and reasons why they failed. Each entry is two pages, one of text, one of a map (usually a historical reproduction).

    Did you know that Navassa was once proposed for statehood? Where? A better question is about the Guano Islands Act of 1856.
    Or Popham Colony (Maine). Preceding Plymouth by 10 years, abandoned after a year, the inhabitants returning to England.
    Or Montezuma. Where a handshake deal between two crooked politicians set back statehood for New Mexico by 37 years.

    Amazing stories made all the more captivating by the fact that they are all TRUE! Do yourself a pleasant favor. Give this book a try!

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