A friend of mine mentioned a book she was reading that talked about a number of regional cultures, or nations, that make up North America.
The book was American Nations; A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard published in 2012.
I commented that Woodard’s premise sounded like an expanded view of David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, published in 1989, which I absolutely loved.
When I reviewed Albion’s Seed, I highly recommended the book as a must read for genealogists because it provides a huge window into understanding how American society is still influenced by the folkways and culture of Fischer’s four British immigrant groups – the Puritans, the Virginians, the Quakers and the Scots-Irish.
Colin Woodard’s book should be considered like a second volume complementing Albion’s Seed, as it expands the initial four immigrant groups to encompass all of the peoples who have influenced North American settlement and subsequent history.
Chapter 1: Founding El Norte
Chapter 2: Founding New France
Chapter 3: Founding Tidewater
Chapter 4: Founding Yankeedom
Chapter 5: Founding New Netherland
Chapter 6: The Colonies’ First Revolt
Chapter 7: Founding the Deep South
Chapter 8: Founding the Midlands
Chapter 9: Founding Greater Appalachia
Unlikely Allies: 1770 to 1815
Chapter 10: A common Struggle
Chapter 11: Six Wars of Liberation
Chapter 12: Independence or Revolution?
Chapter 13: Nations in the North
Chapter 14: First Secessionists
Wars for the West: 1816 to 1877
Chapter 15: Yankeedom Spreads West
Chapter 16: The Midlands Spread West
Chapter 17: Appalachia Spreads West
Chapter 18: The Deep South Spreads West
Chapter 19: Conquering El Norte
Chapter 20: Founding the Left Coast
Chapter 21: War for the West
Cultures Wars: 1878 to 2010
Chapter 22: Founding the Far West
Chapter 23: Immigration and Identity
Chapter 24: Gods and Missions
Chapter 25: Culture Clash
Chapter 26: War, Empire and the Military
Chapter 27: The Struggle for Power I: The Blue Nations
Chapter 28: The Struggle for Power II: The Red and the Purple
Woodard’s original intention, I believe, was to show how the political scene evolved through time to become what it was in 2010.
I have to admit that my interest in this book is not at all political. It stems from a genealogical perspective that explains the whys and hows of our ancestors’ cultural values and societal life and the life choices they made.
It was equally as fascinating a read as Albion’s Seed, but at 326 pages makes for a much quicker read than the 946 page Albion’s Seed.
Reading about the influences of the eleven cultures on American society was even more of an eye-opener than Fischer’s book.
American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard published in 2012 by Penguin Books is available online for $14 (paperback), under $10 used and $9.99 on Kindle.