Our Patchwork Nation: The Suprising Truth About the "Real" America: The 12 Community Types That Make Up Our Nation
by: Dante Chinni and James Gimpel
Published by: Gotham Books
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Reviewed by Sara Porter
Many political experts believe that the U.S. is only comprised of the so-called Red and Blue states with strictly conservative vs. liberal. In their thought-provoking glimpse of the 50 states, Chinn and Gimpel present a reality that is more complex and varied than the traditional red vs. blue states beliefs.
Instead of defining two strict definitions, Chinn and Gimpel define 12 communities. These communities can be found in every state making a more colorful view of the U.S. than is perceived. The 12 types are Boom Towns, Campus and Career Areas, Emptying Nests, Evangelical Epicenters, Immigration Nations, Industrial Metropolis, Military Bastions, Minority Centrals, Monied Burbs, Mormon Outposts, Service Worker Centers, and Tractor Countries. Each chapter gives a specific example of the towns, describes the residents and statistics on their ethnic backgrounds, age distribution, income, and presidential voting. These 12 communities give the U.S. more character than one would imagine and shows the current political and socioeconomic climate is grayer than the traditional black and white picture that we often examine around election time.
Each community is expertly described giving life to the settings and their residents. For example the Minority Central section describes a Baton Rouge, Louisiana with two bars, one a haven for the Caucasian population, another for the African-American population. The chapter continues to describe the subconscious color barriers that the Baton Rouge residents have faced and how it contributes to their election choices, income, and family traits.
The authors of Our Patchwork Nation do sometimes resort to stereotypes and rely on their findings to characterize every member of the communities. However, the book does an interesting job of presenting a different view of the country that one may not realize. They may even find their own community described.
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