American Nations

Colin Woodard | Non-Fiction


In my blog on Hillbilly Elegy, I asked for recommendations on a book that better explains our current regional voting patterns and two of you suggested American Nations.  This is a very worthwhile read.

American Nations traces the 11 ethoregional “nations” that actually compose our continent, from 1600 to 2010.  (American Nations was published in 2011).  Woodard writes the history of our country and our continent through the lens of these nations, which were colonized by different peoples, and have different values and often vastly different views on religion, race, the role of government, appropriate self-governance, diversity, social issues and the environment.  And more!  It is fascinating to read history told this way.  It amazes me we ever came together as a “United” Sates.

This is not an easy read.  I typically could read only one or two chapters at a time. And since, as long-term leaders of Dusty Shelves know, I am not a fan of history, it took discipline and commitment to read this book.  And retention?  I would say I have retained 5% maybe.

While American Nations does not address the current administration and how we were surprised last November 8, it does give us over 300 years of context for the decision we made as a country last year.  Woodard is good, too, throughout his telling of history, at identifying what aspects are still alive today and still drive decisions and attitudes in the 21st century; so there is a frequent link to the present.

American Nations is important and educational and yes, I highly recommend it.  I am including the map of the 11 Nations here … I hope you will be able to see it!


2 responses on “American Nations

  1. Mary C Crawford

    Based on an earlier conversation we had, I’ve requested this book at the library. I too was disappointed with Hillbilly Elegy. Looks this this book will provide a broader perspective.

    When requesting this book online, I see this author has written another book titled American Character, publ. in 2016. Might be a worthwhile follow-up read….later

    1. Andrea Sigetich Post author

      Thanks for the info Mary. I knew he had another book, but I thought it was earlier. I am goign to check out American Character also. Though Woodard’s primary focus is the US, I look forwrad to hearing what you think about his Canadian history bits as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *