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Download How the States Got Their Shapes Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample How the States Got Their Shapes (Unabridged), by Mark Stein
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Stein Narrator: Brian Holsopple Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Josh | 2/20/2014

    " Very interesting information. The one drawback was that the information could get a bit repetitive. You read about most state borders twice, because the book is organized alphabetically. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jeff Rosendahl | 2/13/2014

    " Recommended for anyone interested in US history. After a brief intro regarding major US land purchases, the author describes how each state got its present borders. Skip the states you don't want to know about and read the ones you are interested in. Gives a lot of insight into nation-building and "manifest destiny." "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Caleb | 2/10/2014

    " I had real high hopes for this book and it got so boring that I didn't finish it. First, his summaries at the end of each state get very trite. Second, the problem with doing a border discussion state by state is that it gets incredibly repetitive, as one state's northern border is another's southern border. Good to own to resolve bar disputes, but don't bother reading the whole thing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Annalie Plaetz | 2/2/2014

    " It took me a long time to get through this book as it was a dry read. I also felt that it was very repetitive and jumped back and forth alot. "

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About the Author

Mark Stein is the author of How the States Got Their Shapes, a New York Times bestseller that became the basis of the History Channel series of the same name, in which Stein frequently appears. He is also the author of How the States Got Their Shapes Too: The People behind the Borderlines. Stein lives in Washington, DC, where he has taught at the Catholic University of America and American University.