“Back in the ’70s, almost a hundred reporters around the country – Washington Post bureau chiefs, rovers, freelancers and me, their desk-bound editor – were trying to get our arms around how North America worked, really. Not how it should work. But how it did work. Forget those nice neat rectangles in the middle of the U.S. Let’s be real: The mountains of western Colorado are totally alien from the wheat fields of eastern Colorado. And Miami is part not of Florida, but its own watery Caribbean realm. And what a terrible idea is ‘California.’ It behaves as if it covers three warring civilizations. The result was my 1981 book, ‘The Nine Nations of North America.’ The reader reaction was astonishing. This map – drawn to anticipate the news – revealed something much deeper. It turned out to be a map of culture and values, which have nothing to do with our perversely drawn state and national boundaries.”
Question to Ponder: How would you divide up North America? What would be some differences from this map? What reasons do you have for making these different regional groupings? What are the main criteria for what constitutes a region?