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on 13 February 2017
I love the fact that I could buy this in mint condition at a fraction of the new price. Not the most entertaining book in the works but if you love the USA it provides some interesting facts. Recommended
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on 9 May 2014
This is a bold attempt to provide a snapshot of the USA, state by state, by 50 different writers, and, for the most part, it succeeds - if in an idiosyncratic way. It's not a handbook or a guidebook or a set of stats, and it doesn't sell itself as such, so I'm surprised by some of the reviews on here.

It's a collection of essays, some deeply personal, by a gaggle of authors - some of whom have a deep and long-standing connection to the state they are writing about, and some of whom have just paid it a glancing visit. I find this refreshing, as it's sometimes out-of-towners, rather than natives, who can give better insight into a place.

The impression you get of every state is filtered by the interests and obsessions of the author. They are painting a portrait of their experience of a state, and some of these are photo-realistic, and some are decidedly abstract.

Highlights for me included two of the A's (the book is alphabetical): Alabama by George Packer and Arizona by Lydia Millet stick with me long after first reading. But there are other gems buried in here too: the graphic novella that comprises Oregon's chapter, and Jonathan Franzen's entry, in which he interviews New York state, and just about keeps it the right side of funny and whimsical.

I ended the book knowing more about the USA than I did before I read it; I was intrigued, entertained and informed. Recommended.
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on 11 October 2010
I am sorry but I found this book tedious in the extreme. Considering the authors are supposed to be the cream of the writing community I found almost every one dull, unfunny and boring. As for the stats at the start of each State, the editors should add up the population breakdowns on a calculator as they nearly all added up to over 100 percent, which is impossible. Very disappointing.
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on 25 August 2014
excellent deal
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on 22 November 2009
I'm so enjoying this book, as a way of discovering the US. As an aspiring writer, I am also absorbing the wonderful descriptive skills of the various authors.

In turn, funny, beautifully writter, informative, and very original.

Highly recommended.

I'd love a sequel - one chapter per American President!
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on 8 October 2008
This is a useful reference book about each of the 50 states in the union by journalists and novelists who lived in these states. I enjoyed Cristina Henriquez's interesting account of Texas, and Jhampa Lahiri's essay on Rhode Island. Jonathan Franzen describes an imaginary interview with the state of New York, which is outlandish. Essays on South Dakota and Michigan could have been better.

I lived in several states that includes; Massachusetts, California, Colorado, New Jersey, North Carolina and West Virginia, I thought the authors could have provided a little more info about these states. There are some interesting facts and figures given at the end of the book; cigarette consumption, breastfeeding rate (as if someone is interested in this statistics!), suicide rate, toothlessness (how amazing for authors to find a statistics about this!), military enlistment, etc.

1. Rand Mcnally Road Atlas: USA, Canada, Mexico (Rand McNally Road Atlas)
2. Big Road Atlas USA (AA Atlases and Maps) (AA Atlases and Maps)
3. State-By-State Atlas
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on 10 June 2012
This book i expected to be an appendage to how the states got their shapes, instead it was boring ramble about authors remembrance of experiances and anidotes of personel and family incidents.
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on 23 May 2011
Maybe it's me ... but I suspect that - without knowing what this book is REALLY about - you might fall into the same trap I did. I wanted a state by state account of interesting facts... and something about the heart and soul of each state. In essence - what each state is like - andwhat the people are like. Buy the book and all you really get are pages ( and tedious pages ) of people who have been given the opportunity to ' grandstand ' and write ( sadly, most of them can't ) and what do they do with this chance to get into print ? Well, for the most part they simply ramble on about themselves - their wives - kids - families and girlfriends. Every once in a while.. they just might just mention something about the state in which they live. If you are after the - facts - and about what each state is like .... stay away from this book - it just doesn't do... what I suspect you REALLY wanted it to do. On the other hand - you might enjoy reading about all the domestic twaddle in these folk's lives - and for your money... you won't get much else. It's a bummer.
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