The Nine Nations of North America
- The Nine Nations of North America
- 427 pages
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My (old) boss gave me this book, as we were fascinated by regional differences and how they could be revealed and respected. Which makes sense, as we were running a public market advocacy organization. Add to that our friends at Slow Food had begun a project named RAFT (Renewing America's Food Traditions) and were creating a map of food regions of America to show how food and culture can be the sovereign organizing principle rather than political boundaries drawn by surveyors hundreds of years a [...]
A truly eye opening book. I’ve lived in America most of my life and this was like seeing it for the first time. Of the nine “nations” of North America the author delves into in great detail to highlight their regional flavors, I’ve lived in three and spent time in another two. I can definitely confirm everything he’s saying, I just never saw what was going on around me with such detail, with the exception perhaps of my stint in Ectopia. While many leave their heart in San Francisco, Ec [...]
Somewhere out in the desert, there is a place called Four Corners. It's Navajo land, or so I understand, with little in the way of human habitation anywhere. It is famous only by accident; it's the place where the lines of latitude and longitude that mark the borders of four Southwestern states meet. It is marked by a stone showing the borders, and you can walk around the stone and be in all four states in less than a minute. Big deal. If you want to know what a real crossroads is like, come to [...]
After rereading this, I'm upgrading it to five stars. Yes, it's dated at this point, but I kept coming across stories I read years ago and still remembered because they became part of me. I had forgotten they originally came from this book. This remains my favorite book on North American regions ever. Recommended.
I can appreciate the premise a lot.We can nitpick about this or that, whether Garreau's treatment is accurate or not (or whether it was in/accurate even when the book was published), but it doesn't change the overall message: you are where you live.The fundamental fault with nation-states - that we all instinctively acknowledge - is just this: they are artificial. Differences might be eroding over time, but not necessarily. On the contrary: we have Scotts who want to be Scottish not British, Que [...]
A solidly useful book. Written by a newspaper man it reads well, informative enough to teach you a new way of thinking about America but not so completely dry that bores you to tears. The writting is engaging and descriptive.As the title suggests the author considers America from the perspective of cultural similarities as opposed to state and national lines which are mostly arbitrary anyway.The first nation he talks about is New England. New England as he sees it is the Northern East Coast. The [...]
"Writer hits homer but fails to score"Twenty years ago I read Raymond Gastil's "Cultural Regions of the United States" and found it very interesting, so when I spotted the title of Garreau's book I bought it immediately, thinking that North America was an apter field for such researches than just the USA. No doubt, Garreau has some very interesting ideas. His choices for designating the nine nations are sound and appeal to the imagination as well. I was especially impressed with some of the conc [...]
This study of regional differentiations is more entertainment than scholarly treatise. At this point much of the material is dated and most of it is anecdotal, but still interesting in the sense of getting a feel for local traditions and peculiarities. Some of the allegations are clearly untrue or at least no longer true and many border on stereotype, insult and rationalization. Still, an interesting start at a conversation about region, but not the last word.
Interesting concept but use of anecdotes versus analytics fails to make a compelling case. Nonetheless travel and history has taught me there’s more than a kernel of truth in the notion.
First off, let's realize the publication date on this is 1981. As such, it's rather dated.His description of "nations," being places with common concerns, values, etc. is apt. As I've visited different states within the US, they definitely have different concerns, values, mores, attitudes, etc. It would be fascinating for him (or someone else) to do a follow-up, modernized version of this book, reflecting how things have changed (or remained the same) in the intervening decades.That said, it's w [...]
How many people read a geography book because they feel like it? I think it was a first for me.I read this back in the 90's. I was a mother returning to school to finish the degree I'd abandoned, and I was taking a class titled Geography of Cities. In one of his lectures, the instructor mentioned this book. It wasn't required of us, and in fact if I ordered it, the class would end before it would arrive. But I was intrigued. Dividing the continent into 9 nations based on their similarities of th [...]
Garreau has some sharply observed theories on the geography and politics of North America (and here North America really does mean most of the continent, and isn't just shorthand for the USA). Redrawing the boundaries of sections of North America in terms of culture, economy, and values is a very interesting experiment. And having experienced at least a taste of a few of these nations (New England, The Foundry, The Breadbasket), I did a whole lot of eye-opened nodding along.I'm about thirty year [...]
Garreau offers up an interesting snapshot of North America in 1980; where various regions stood and where they seemed to be heading in the wake of the 1970s. Had I read the book at the time it was published I might have given it a higher rating; from our vantage point, three decades removed from the time it was written, it is easy to identify what Garreau got right and what he got wrong. "Predictions," as Yogi Berra observed, "are tough to make, especially about the future."One factor that perha [...]
Very good, prescient insight into America at the dawn of the Reagan years. Amazing how some issues seem to be at the exact same stage thirty-plus years later. Garreau foretells of some things to come that will impact the US:- the insulation of the Washington, DC area from the rest of the country, both economically and otherwise, rendering it less of a reflection on the country as a whole- Miami as the epicenter of Latin American culture, and essentially the East Coast's answer to Las Vegas- Mexi [...]
From the author, Sept 10, 1981 he set out to “explain how the continent is really working right now, not as if it were three nations – the United States, Canada, and Mexico; not as if it were 50 states; not as it should work, as an academic might have it; but how it is really working and how best to understand how we will be moving into the 21st century as a result.” In July of 2014, Garreau wrote: More than three decades after publication, two things amaze me: how little the boundaries ha [...]
Where to begin?When I first read the basic premise of this book, I was very itrigued. I thought that there would be an in-depth discussion of the different interests of the "nine nations" and the ramifications of having such diverse interests bounded within a single country. What I found seemed more suited to a Rick Steves show. Basically, Garreau started with his premise, did little to back it up, and then meandered through random bits of quasi-journalism, comparing apples to oranges and expect [...]
"Nine Nations" is a fine, interesting look at place and culture. It is sad that so few academics can write something similar that escapes to the masses. There are plenty of professional geographers who could do something like this with much greater command of the subject, but very few choose to write to the general public but rather to the choir. One should not dismiss this book because it is over 30 years old. While some anecdotes have lost their salt, the thesis of the book has not. Those stor [...]
Finally was able to get my hands on a copy of this book only to be a bit disappointed by it. I knew the book was published 30 years ago, but I didn't realize how dated things would be in it. The main idea is obviously that North America is really 9 separate nations that aren't defined by the current borders by the culture of regions. I found the book pretty tedious to get through and pretty tough to follow as well. The chapters tended to start out pretty good but then they jumped around a lot an [...]
Joel Garreau wrote this book back in the 1980's, but after re-reading it a number of years later, most of it is still as relevant today as it was back when the book was written. He has a website garreau/ which actually has fairly current follow-ups to the basic themes in the book. Anyway, this was one of the more interesting looks at the way North America is really organized, rather than what the current maps suggest!
The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau (Avon Books 1981)(973.92). The author argues that the state borders in North America, Canada, and Mexico are arbitrary and provide no meaningful distinctions. He proposes to redistrict North America into "nine nations" based on commonality of purpose and interests, natural features, ecosystems, and economic similarities. It's a fascinatingly cogent argument, and it makes as much sense today as when the book was written. My rating: 8/10, finished [...]
This book opened my eyes to the political dynamics of this country. I read it shortly after I had purchased a home in Colorado and discovered, at the closing, that I had no mineral or water rights to the land the home set on. This book explained why. I have now read Colin Woodard's book that seems to be a good companion with more detailed description of the people who settled the Americas, their history and world views that have greatly influenced are current political climate. The book is now d [...]
Great thesis. I buy it, I enjoyed it, I think it would have interesting ramifications if applied to the consensus-building phenomena in the game theory of our governmental structure. The nine nations are defined by cultural and economic realities, not artificial borders (but mostly by natural and infrastructural borders): Ecotopia, The Empty Quarter, Quebec, New England, The Foundary, Dixie, The Islands, Mexamerica, The Breadbasket and a few aberrations (Manhattan, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington [...]
This is an interesting take on how the United States formed. The author explains the differences in regions of the United States as being caused by the original settlers of each of the areas. Having grown up in the east and midwest, I could easily see the reasoning behind his premise. For instance, it cdiscussed the difference between red and blue states in the last election, and why the northeast of Ohio was blue while the rest of the state was red. I don't know quite what category this book fi [...]
The observation that North America is composed of five distinct 'nations' is interesting and the description of each nation at the beginning of each chapter makes this book worth reading. However, the anecdotes which are used to illustrate the character of each nation, and which comprise the bulk of the book, are just plain tedious. Read the beginning and end of each chapter, skip the rest you wont miss much.
Garreau uses significant research to explain why our usual concepts of terms such as "Midwest", Mexico and Canada for places are incorrect due to culture and other factors, and it is better to consider the North American continent as nine different nations. The book was excellent in its time, the data being from 1979. It's still invaluable to those writing about or researching the 1970's, but some of the assumptions don't apply to present day.
Gift for his birthday, because I think he'll find it an interesting concept. The book is more than 30 years old at this point, but that might actually make it a more interesting read, as we'll be coming at the ideas from a different perspective and will be able to say whether the author was talking out of his ass or whether he was born out by what's happened historically and socially since the book was published.
Dated now, and its ideas weren't as daring when new as they were made out to be, but a lot of it has held up well, though there have been some major trends not anticipated here (it was written about 20 years ago, after all.) An interesting and different way to consider regional identities and politics on this continent independent of national borders.
Although the info is a little dated, I found this book to be very interesting. Although it can be a bit hard to follow, it seems mixed between reality and the 'fantasy' of the 'nine nations' in existence. I was hoping to use this book as a reference to a short story based on the breakdown of the USA and I think it's served it's purpose well.
One of my favorite books of all time. Outstanding review of the divisions of our nation. Looking at the map from Colin Woodward's American National, many are similar but frankly weaker. Ohio is not as Yankee as North America, Quaker country is just a small part of Pennsylvania and New York and Eastern Virginia aren't that different. Prefer Dixie, New England, the Breadbasket, and the Foundry.
Don't remember exactly when I read this book, but it was still fairly new at the time. Very interesting, and alway meant to get back to it one day.Curious how closely the map matches one being bandied about recently.