The Shaping of America [ePub]

by D.W. Meinig

Perhaps this book's goal was just too grandiose.Covering over 300 years of "geographic history" in 500 pages means much of the book has to been spent covering the regular history that's available in any college textbook.A nice review, but still.

Also, the extended tangents on the geographical "theories" seem to involve nothing more than converting regular maps with squiggly lines into weird maps with straight lines, and changing the name of countries from "Great Britain" to "Metropole" or some such.I assume the continued existence of Geography as an academic discipline requires that they come up with some bankable theories, but from this work it doesn't look like they can explain much more than the patently obvious.

Despite this I did learn about the settlement patterns of the early United States, the surprising diversity in almost every state (Quakers, Presbyterian Scots, Reformed Westphalians, Anglicans, Cape Verdeans), and the rough trading of whole continents by Europeans at a whim, often at the same time they spent eons negotiating over the ownership of tiny fishing islands in the St. Lawrence estuary.Even in the 1760s, they had a very different conception of the promise of America.

I'm going to give the next volume, focusing just on the next fifty years, a chance.



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