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An illuminating history of North America's that explodes the red state-blue
state myth

A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

By Colin Woodard


Named one of the Best Books of 2011 by the editors of The New Republic

Winner of the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Non-fiction

Named a Best Book of 2011 by the editors of
The Globalist

Publishers Weekly “Top Ten Politics” Pick for Fall 2011
“Colin Woodard explains away partisanship in American Nations: A History of
the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, which makes the
provocative claim that our culture wars are inevitable.  North America was
settled by groups with distinct political and religious value—and we haven’t
had a moment’s peace since.”

“Woodard offers a fascinating way to parse American (writ large) politics and
history in this excellent book.”
Kirkus (starred review)

"A smart read that feels particularly timely now, when so many would claim a
mythically unified “Founding Fathers’’ as their political ancestors."                  
Boston Globe

"[In] offering us a way to better understand the forces at play in the rumpus
room of current American politics, Colin Woodard has scored a true triumph"  
The Daily Beast / Newsweek

"Woodard makes a worthwhile contribution by offering an accessible, well-
researched analysis with appeal to both casual and scholarly readers."  --
Library Journal

"For people interested in American history and sociology, American Nations
demands reading."
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"[A] fascinating new take on our history..." -- Christian Science Monitor

"Mr. Woodard's approach is breezier than [David Hackett] Fischer's and more
historical than [Joel] Garreau's, but he has earned a place on the shelf between
them." --
Wall Street Journal

"[American Nations'] compelling explanations and apt descriptions will fascinate
anyone with an interest in politics, regional culture, or history" --
(starred review)

"[A] compelling and informative attempt to make sense of the regional divides
in North America in general and this country in particular....Woodard provides
a bracing corrective to an accepted national narrative that too often overlooks
regional variations to tell a simpler and more reassuring story. "
-- The
Washington Post
If you want to better understand U.S. politics, history, and culture, AMERICAN
NATIONS: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
by Colin Woodard (Viking; On-Sale October 3, 2011; ISBN :978-0-670-02296-0;
$30.00) is to be required reading.  

In AMERICAN NATIONS, Woodard leads us through the history of our fractured
continent, and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations. He
explains why “American values” vary sharply from one region to another—how
an idea like “freedom” as understood by an East Texan or Idahoan can be the
polar opposite of what it means to a New Englander or San Franciscan.  
Woodard reveals how intra-national differences have played a pivotal role at
every point in the continent’s history, right up into the 2012 election cycle.  
AMERICAN NATIONS is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America’s
myriad identities, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past
and mold our future.

There isn’t and never has been one America, Colin Woodard argues, but rather
several Americas. The original North American colonies were settled by people
from distinct regions of the British Islands, and from France, the Netherlands,
and Spain, each with unique religious, political, and ethnographic
characteristics. Some championed individualism, others utopian social reform.
Some believed themselves guided by divine purpose, others freedom of
conscience and inquiry. Some embraced an Anglo-Saxon Protestant identity,
others ethnic and religious pluralism. Some valued equality and democratic
participation, others deference to a traditional aristocratic order. All of them
continue to uphold their respective ideals today, with results that can be seen
on the composition of the U.S. Congress or the county-by-county election maps
of most any competitive presidential election of the past two centuries.

Woodard tackles such questions as: why are there such enormous regional
differences in opinion over such fundamental issues as the appropriate balance
between individual liberty and the public good, over the relationship between
church and state or whether the United States is a “Christian” nation or a
secular one, if a national culture exists and, if so, whether immigrants should
be encouraged to assimilate into it; if business and industry should be closely
regulated or freed from constraints; over which party is defending American
values and which one is undermining them.

By revealing this continent of rivals, AMERICAN NATIONS will revolutionize
the way Americans think about their past, their country, and themselves and is
sure spark controversy and debate for the upcoming political season.

Available at your local bookstore or via,,

Also available in Kindle and Nook editions.

Audiobook edition available via and iTunes

Now in Penguin paperback.
Read the Bloomberg
excerpts from American
Read Colin's interview with
Read The Daily
Beast review
What does the American
paradigm say about
the Tea Party's future?
What does the American
paradigm say about
the 2011 election results?
Read The Washington
Post review
See Colin's interview on
PBS News Hour  
What does the American
paradigm say about
the Occupy Wall Street
Read the starred review from
Publisher's Weekly
What does the American
paradigm reveal
U.S. capital
What does the American
paradigm tell us
Mitt Romney or Jon
Huntsman's presidential
What does the American
tell us about the
results of the GOP's 2012
Super Tuesday primaries?
Download a detailed map
of the
American Nations
today (pdf)
What does the American
say about Obama's
Greater Appalachia Problem
future of the Electoral
How did the American
effect the 2012
U.S. election?
What does the American
say about the GO.P's
meltdown in Yankeedom in
the 2012 election?

Watch Colin talk
American Nations
with Chuck Todd on
The Daily Rundown

Watch Colin's full
American Nations talk
via C-SPAN
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