Saturday, November 16, 2013

American Nations media frenzy

As regular readers of this space know, American Nations went viral late last week, more than two years after its publication, with interest rapidly spreading into mainstream media.

Over the past week, I'm pleased to say that has developed into a nationwide media frenzy of sorts, capped off by yesterday's interview with Chuck Todd, host of MSNBC's The Daily Rundown. My thanks and appreciation to Todd and his crew for their interest and for so efficiently and accurately setting up the book's paradigm in their introduction.

By Friday afternoon, the book's overall sales rank at Amazon hit #50, an all-time high for one of my titles.

In addition to the interviews and features described or previewed last Sunday, here is a small sample of the attention the book and framework received in this unusual week:

Columnists at a number of big city dailies weighed in on whether I'd gotten their region right, at least based on what they understood from the Washington Post or Tufts Magazine articles. (Few, understandably, got to read the actual book before their weekly deadlines.)  

The Oregonian's David Sarasohn essentially endorsed it, but thinks his state's two cultures get along better than the same ones in, say, California. Up in Washington State, this blogger used the paradigm to analyze Boeing's "regional divide."

Kevin Horrigan at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch just doesn't understand what the map and model are really about, and criticized it for things the book explicitly doesn't say, but it was still nice to have the attention. (Alas.).  By contrast, Ralph De la Cruz at the Dallas Morning News thoughtTexans have been successfully "map pegged."

[Update, 11/17/23: The Omaha World-Herald's Erin Grace had this beautifully-executed piece on The Midlands, Nebraska, and the American Nations in this morning's paper, complete with a new color map.]

South Floridians are up in arms at not being included within the eleven nations I treat in the book. (Would it help if I told you Hawaii and Newfoundland aren't either?) The Miami New Times thought I was arguing that the area "shouldn't be considered part of the United States" (sigh), but at least acknowledged they hadn't read the book. (To my surprise, a lot of their commenters seemed to endorse the idea that Miami "isn't really America", suggesting this is an emotive issue thereabouts.)

I had an enjoyable conversation with Brian O'Neill at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about whether Allegeheny County belongs in the Midlands or not -- he's sticking with Appalachia though. The Santa Fe Reporter offered no judgment, but expressed relief that they weren't part of New France. Jack Craver at The Capital Times in Madison, wondered aloud if Wisconsin would still qualify as part of Yankeedom under the Scott Walker administration.

Much further afield, there was the Irish Times, whose U.S. correspondent, Simon Carswell, unpacked the model for his country's readers, saying it "helps navigate a greater understanding of what drives people in this vast, eclectic country."

The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch blog had their own piece, as did Andrew Sullivan's The Dish, and the Raleigh News &Observer.

Lots of other papers reprinted the Washington Post piece, which went out on the Post's news service late in the week, from the Tampa Bay Times to Tokyo's Japan Times.

I also had fun chatting with my Portland Press Herald colleague Greg Kesich about the book and the secret of going viral in our in-newsroom television studio Thursday. Earlier today I chatted with the host of CJAD's Viewpoints in Montreal, but alas, the segment isn't up online yet. The one I did with Lakeshore Public Radio in (the Yankee bit of) Indiana earlier in the week is though, as are the previously plugged NPR, BBC, KPCC, and KPFA pieces.

And, finally, the Free Lance-Star of Fredereicksburg, Va., Friday published my recent Washington Monthly piece on the regional divide in the recent Virginia governor's race as an OpEd. Thanks for your interest.

Now to get some sleep....

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