Book Review: How The States Got Their Shapes – Mark Stein

synopsis single

Why does Oklahoma have that panhandle? Did someone make a mistake?

We are so familiar with the map of the United States that our state borders seem as much a part of nature as mountains and rivers. Even the oddities—the entire state of Maryland(!)—have become so engrained that our map might as well be a giant jigsaw puzzle designed by Divine Providence. But that’s where the real mystery begins. Every edge of the familiar wooden jigsaw pieces of our childhood represents a revealing moment of history and of, well, humans drawing lines in the sand.

How the States Got Their Shapes is the first book to tackle why our state lines are where they are. Here are the stories behind the stories, right down to the tiny northward jog at the eastern end of Tennessee and the teeny-tiny (and little known) parts of Delaware that are not attached to Delaware but to New Jersey.

How the States Got Their Shapes examines:

Why West Virginia has a finger creeping up the side of Pennsylvania
Why Michigan has an upper peninsula that isn’t attached to Michigan
Why some Hawaiian islands are not Hawaii
Why Texas and California are so outsized, especially when so many Midwestern states are nearly identical in size
Packed with fun oddities and trivia, this entertaining guide also reveals the major fault lines of American history, from ideological intrigues and religious intolerance to major territorial acquisitions. Adding the fresh lens of local geographic disputes, military skirmishes, and land grabs, Mark Stein shows how the seemingly haphazard puzzle pieces of our nation fit together perfectly.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

If you´re interested in American state history then look no further. This book is exactly what you need to understand how borders formed and reshaped throughout the early period of America.

Interesting. Insightful. Fascinating.

 

`How The States Got Their Shapes`  is exactly what the title suggests. A book on how each of the 50 states got their shapes. Not necessarily important to know but interesting nonetheless. How the states got their shape

If you´re anything like me you´ll inhale this book and appreciate the knowledge handed out here. Some things I already knew about but some other things, like- the equality of height of the prairie states and the equality of width of the western states is just…

 

A great read with tons of facts on states. My expectations were met.

The only complaint I have is about how some states didn´t receive as much detailed spotlight as others. I don´t know why. Maybe there wasn´t enough available info? Who knows.

America is one big fat game of Tetris.

 


 

Would I recommend this book? Sure. It´s a quick read with loads of interesting facts.

Would I reread this book? Yes, I would.

Since this is a History / Geography book on American History I will skip my usual 4 point speed rating. 

4 stars

 

You can purchase `How The States Got Their Shapes` by Mark Stein on Amazon.com