A few months ago our discussion topic was USA Origin Stories. It turns out much was not as we understand today, for we learned the early settlements were characterized by harsh, brutal conditions much different from what many of us were taught in school.

Several years ago I read a book entitled The Nine Nations of North America, by Joel Garreau. I didn’t give it much thought till recently, when my son Chris suggested I read an excellent book entitled American Nations: A History of the Eleven Regional Cultures of North America, by Colin Woodard. The introduction alone is riveting – the divisive politics you see today can be traced back to the DNA of nine distinct “nations” that formed and today still weave prominently into our culture. There’s an important distinction, the author notes, between nations and states; the latter is a sovereign political entity such as the United Kingdom, while a nation is a group of people who share (or believe they share) culture, ethnic origin, language, etc. All told, a fascinating read to help make sense of the turmoil we experience today.