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Lost States: How the US could have looked much different
I'm always up for a good coffee table book, so this book, about all of the proposed US states that never happened for whatever reason, was right up my alley. Reading it is fascinating, as it helps demonstrate why the US is organized the way it is.
The various "lost states" take a variety of forms, including existing states that were divided up in different ways (including North and South Dakota, Arizona, and Minnsota), threatened splits of established states (such as Nickajack, Acadia, and the city-states of New York City and Chicago), and even pieces of other countries that could have been annexed by the US (such as Newfoundland, the Yucatan Peninsula, Guyana, and the Philippines). Reading about them several themes emerge: big cities in rural states feeling their resources are being drained by downstate farmers, sparsely populated segments who feel they're being ignored in their state capital, stark political or cultural divides in poorly drawn up states, and poor nations trying to latch themselves to America in order to enrich themselves.
Although the book is now slightly out of date (Puerto Rico's status having changed since the book was written), it is still fascinating to read. Michael J. Trinklein, the author, is able to maintain a comedic tone while still taking these possible states seriously. It is all in all, a very intriguing book to read, and imagine what the US would be like if Texas was five states, if half of Mexico or Canada were part of the US, or if remote regions or virtual city-states were independent would be like. Definitely a book to check out if you're interested in historical footnotes.