Everyone knows that America is 50 states and...some other stuff. Scattered shards in the Pacific and the Caribbean, the not-quite states--American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands--and their 4 million people are often forgotten, even by most Americans.Read more...
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Publisher: HighBridge Audio$34.99The Not-Quite States of America (Paperback)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company$15.95
Everyone knows that America is 50 states and...some other stuff. Scattered shards in the Pacific and the Caribbean, the not-quite states--American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands--and their 4 million people are often forgotten, even by most Americans. But they're filled with American flags, U.S. post offices, and Little League baseball games. How did these territories come to be part of the United States? What are they like? And why aren't they states?
When Doug Mack realized just how little he knew about the territories, he set off on a globe-hopping quest covering more than 30,000 miles to see them all. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mack examines the Founding Fathers' arguments over expansion. He explores Polynesia's outsize influence on American culture, from tiki bars to tattoos, in American Samoa. He tours Guam with members of a military veterans' motorcycle club, who offer personal stories about the territory's role in World War II and its present-day importance for the American military. In the Northern Mariana Islands, he learns about star-guided seafaring from one of the ancient tradition's last practitioners. And everywhere he goes in Puerto Rico, he listens in on the lively debate over political status--independence, statehood, or the status quo.
The Not-Quite States of America is an entertaining account of the territories' place in the USA, and it raises fascinating questions about the nature of empire. As Mack shows, the territories aren't mere footnotes to American history; they are a crucial part of the story.
- ISBN-13: 9780393247602
- ISBN-10: 0393247600
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: February 2017
- Page Count: 336
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.75 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-07
- Reviewer: Staff
A thoughtful blend of history, insight, and first-person experiences colors this travelogue focused on some of the most overlooked parts of America, the United States territories. Travel writer Mack (Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day) sets out to learn more about these distant neighbors and shares his insights in this entertaining, informative study. He explores each territory with an open mind and an open notebook, hanging out with beer-drinking pigs in Saint Croix and strolling through the worlds largest Kmart in Samoa. He also recounts more than a few sobering experiences, such as visiting Samoas Suicide Cliff, where thousands of Japanese civilians and troops leapt to their death to avoid capture by American troops. Macks thoughtful assessment of American colonialism, underlined by the question of which cultural aspects of each territory should be retained and which should be assimilated into broader American culture, is the spine of the book. Rather than taking an authoritative approach, Mack lets the residents do just as much of the talking and analyzing, making for a strong book sure to spark thought and inspire further research. Agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Feb.)