The astounding diversity among the 300 million citizens of the U.S. defies easy labels of red and blue states, Republicans or Democrats. Journalist Chinni and scholar Gimpel draw on two years of research and interviews to offer regional portraits of the U.S. that drill down to a deeper look at political, social, economic, and cultural perspectives than the red and blue labels. Using data from the nation’s 3,141 counties to get a flavor of local perspectives, they looked at typical demographics of race, education, income, religion, and politics and identified 12 different community types based on “common experiences and shared realities.” Their categories: boomtowns, campus and careers, emptying nests, Evangelical epicenters, immigration nation, industrial metropolis, military bastions, minority central, monied burbs, Mormon outposts, service-worker centers, and tractor country. The first part of the book examines the characteristics of each type of county, while the second compares the types and how their characteristics drive economics, politics, and culture. The authors’ data is almost as fascinating as their conversations with people living within the defined regions. --Vanessa Bush
"[Our Patchwork Nation] is a captivating and at times surprising analysis, both rigorous and accessible, which suggests that while the country as a whole is going through a period of economic restructuring and technological transformation, how each region experiences these changes creates in effect 12 different realities"
"Our Patchwork Nation is a compelling, thought-provoking book, and a must-read for anyone trying to make sense of our country's complex political and cultural dynamic. I highly recommend this book."
-Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class and Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto
"A great piece of work. I don't see how every political writer in the country with any sense wouldn't buy this book."
-Bill Kovack, co-author of The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and The Public Should Expect
"How many books challenge you to think differently about your town, your country, yourself? Hold tight for this exuberant ride into our Patchwork Nation, where new ideas and fresh insights await around the next bend. This book should come with a traveler's advisory: Leave your assumptions at home."
-Steve Luxenberg, author of Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret and Washington Post associate editor
"Tired of seeing America painted in only two colors? Our Patchwork Nation is a wonderful book that takes us way beyond red and blue -- while also explaining the social, regional and economic roots of our partisan and ideological color wars. No matter what your politics are, you are guaranteed great fun by Dante Chinni and Jim Gimpel's glorious charts and grafs (as well their brisk, well-written text). And you will be challenged to figure out where you fit into their patchwork, and what their crazy quilt means for the future of our country."
-E. J. Dionne Jr., author of Why Americans Hate Politics and Souled Out.