American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard (Penguin Books, 2011).
Since I’m very interested in regional cultures of the U.S., this book has been on my list to read for a long time and I finally bought a copy. It was absolutely fascinating. Woodard explains so much about American history by dividing North America into 11 “ethnocultural nations” instead of the usual 50 states. He explains the origins of these regional cultures and how (amazingly) they have persisted since the 18th century. The eleven nations are the Left Coast, the Far West, First Nation (in Canada only), El Norte (partly in Mexico), the Deep South, New France, Tidewater, New Netherland (New York City), the Midlands (Philadelphia area, the Midwest and Ontario), and Yankeedom (New England, upstate NY and Minnesota/Wisconsin). Woodard makes a very strong argument for American history being almost entirely explained by the influence of and shifting alliances between these nations. I would love to hear how he explains Trump; perhaps he can be persuaded to write a second edition.