Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Nine Nations Review

The Nine Nations of North America The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
My boss gave me this book, as we are fascinated at by regional planning and differences. Our friends at RAFT did a great map of food regions of America in their recent book, which we often use to show how food and culture can be the sovereign organizing principle rather than the political boundaries drawn by surveyors hundreds of years ago.

This book by Joel Garreau was written long before RAFT came to be and this author has thoroughly thought out their future possibilities and limitations. I enjoyed it throughout and will recommend it as only a regional planning or public market geek can: In annoyingly detailed terms when people just want an easy answer.

Each is defined by some natural geographical boundaries and also by the author’s very interesting analysis of the commonalities in each region. “Studying these nations is certainly more constructive that examining ideas such as “Colorado”. He writes very well, finding lovely bites of information and great quotes for each nation. Maps included for better description than I give here.

Let me give you a bit for each:

The Breadbasket: Area west of Houston, north of Austin, east of Denver, up to Winnipeg and down to Chicago through St. Louis and Tulsa.

The nation that is most at peace with itself.

The Foundry: From DC to Cincinnati (following Ohio River), east of Indy, up to Milwaukee, Green Bay, north to Ottawa, over to Albany, Trenton and down to southern Connecticut.

The whole point of living here is work.

Dixie: Everything north of Ft. Meyers to Houston, up to St. Louis, down to Kentucky and over to DC, everything south.

Sociologically, climatically, historically. politically, topographically racially it’s a quilt.

New England: New Haven, to Providence, Boston, Burlington, Prince Edward Islands, Nova Scotia to Portsmouth.

(Emerson of Thoreau): “He chose to be rich by making his wants few.”

Mexamaerica: Mexico to California (west of Sierra Nevada range), south of Denver, east to Houston.

Binational, bicultural, bilingual.

The Empty Quarter (portion of Saudi Arabia is called Rub ‘al Khali - Empty Quarter).: West of Sierra Nevada, north to Alaska, and over to Lake Winnipeg and down following the Missouri River • Where the argument between empire and environment lives.

The Islands: South of Ft. Meyers, Keys. Cuba, Puerto Rico

Smugglers paradise.

Ecotopia: Anchorage to Point Conception to north of Sierra Nevada. Temperate island surrounded by a sea of envy


The most improbable yet the most undeniable nation.

A wonderful book that I am very glad to have read and more importantly, to share.

View all my reviews.

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