I don’t normally read non-fiction, but my husband raved about this book and so I picked it up. It was absolutely fascinating. Mr. Woodard’s thesis is that far from being a confederation of 50 states, the USA is actually a collection of 11 nations. In this book he traces the origins and history of each of these nations. In order of arrival they are:
- El Norte, the Spanish speaking part of the USA originally belonged to the Habsburg empire, and comprised southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, parts of Texas, Colorado and Wyoming. Today, it is the fastest-growing nation in the Union. The El Norte nation also consists of the Northern states of Mexico.
- New France came from Quebec and spread to New Orleans
- New Amsterdam flourished in New York City and stayed there.
- Yankeedom originated in Massachusetts & Connecticut spread its culture over the northern Mid-West into the coastal areas of Northern California, Oregon & Washington.
- Tidewater sprung from the Chesapeake region of Washington DC, Northern Virginia, coastal Maryland & Delaware, and stayed there.
- Appalachia originated in the mountains of Pennsylvania, spread down the Appalachian spine to West Virginia and North Carolina and then sprouted west to parts of Texas and beyond.
- The Midlands started in Western Pennsylvania and spread west to the Midwest.
- The Deep South originated on the sugar-plantation-growing island of Barbados, spread first to Charleston South Carolina, and then wound its way through Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri.
- The Left Coast emerged in the 19th century and became a stalwart ally of Yankeedom, principally because the Yankees imported their culture successfully to that area (the coastal areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington, including the cities of San Francisco, Portland Oregon and Seattle Washington.) This Nation is also to be found in parts of Canada, in the cities of Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
- The Far West erupted in the 19th century also. Originally a dependency of the Federal Government, due to its remote location (it comprises the interior areas of California, Oregon, Washington, as well as the states of Nevada and Utah) it came to life in the 20th century during the Second World War, when the Federal Government built highways, airports and factories.
- The eleventh nation, the First Nation is newly emerging in the 21st century, in Canada, in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Nunavut and in the Northwest Territories, where the original inhabitants of Canada are buying back their land and applying ancient techniques to save it for future generations.
If you want to know why this land of ours is so divisive, why it seems that Republicans and Democrats can never ever agree on anything, read this book. You will find it illuminating. Five Stars.