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Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It Hardcover – February 1, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“We all know the 50 states, but how much do you know about the hundreds of statehood proposals that never came to pass? These fascinating maps of states that might have been are from Michael J. Trinklein’s Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It.”—Country Magazine

“Fascinating, funny book.”—New Yorker, Book Bench

“This book is geared to the general reader and has a larger format that encourages perusal. It is recommended for history, geography, and general trivia buffs.”—Library Journal

“Amusing and lavishly illustrated book.”—Christian Science Monitor

“Complete with maps, Lost States is an interesting travel guide to the world of ‘what-if history.’”—McClatchy Newspapers

About the Author

Michael J. Trinklein wrote and produced the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Pioneers of Television (2008), as well as The Gold Rush (1998) and The Oregon Trail (1993). His work has been consistently praised in the national media, including USA Today, Washington Post, Parade, Chicago Tribune, and the New York Times. He lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books; First Edition edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594744106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594744105
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On the outside, the book looks very interesting. The set-up itself is nice with many full color pictures and maps. Each entry is two pages accompanied with text on one side and a map or other illustration on the other. However, the devil is in the details and they are numerous.

For starters, too many of the entries are completely pointless. Why? For a book called "Lost States," too many examples would never have been considered for statehood nor would ever seriously be considered for statehood. Some examples of this are Rio Rico (Texas), Saipan, Guyana, Boston, Chicago, Sicily, Navassa Island, etc. Most of these are complete jokes because of some complaint over taxes or some nameless politician says something that is never seriously considered.

There are also many amateurish errors. At one point, President William McKinley is referred to as James McKinley. A picture allegedly of Confederate President Davis does not look like him at all (because it is not). The section on Rio Rico completely fails to mention how the Texan town was ceded to Mexico back in the seventies (rather the author implies it is still U.S. territory). He incorrectly says the Northern Mariana Islands were under U.S. control since 1898, when in reality they were not occupied by the U.S. until World War II.

For whatever reason, the author also feels it necessary to criticize George W. Bush and the Iraq War on multiple occasions. The most notable of this is in the section on Iceland. What does Bush and the Iraq War have to do with Iceland's potential statehood? Absolutely nothing. So why mention it there at all?

The book also fails in its omissions. In the section on Cuba, there is no mention of the Ostend Manifesto and the attempts to annex the island in the 1840s and 1850s.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a rather lazily written book, the layout and graphics are nice but most of the "states" were never seriously considered and basically are just a bunch of "Hey this one guy made a speech and in it he mentioned a state that doesn't exist!" and somehow he relates every other state to President Bush. Honestly this book is half political diatribe on the evils of voting Republican and half urban myths he found on wikipedia.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me, and when I read the description of it I thought "hey, this is a great idea for a book." Unfortunately, this is not the book I had hoped it would be.

The layout and design of the book is great. Too bad it was wasted on this product. First of all, the title is misleading... several of the "lost states" preceded the U.S. and it is highly unlikely that any of these would have ever been seperate entities, much less states. These include New Sweden and Charlotina. Others discussed included territorial oddities which were NEVER seriously considered for statehood (like Howland, "Lost" Dakota and Rio Rico). These entries are just annoying.

When it comes to actual proposed states the book is better but only two pages are dedicated to each. Why not leave out the Howlands and New Swedens and put in more stuff about actual state proposals? And there are historical errors, the most egregious one was the depiction of Major-General Jefferson Davis (USA) on page 21, where the picture is clearly meant to be President Jefferson Davis, CSA. These two men are both Civil War figures but they certainly did not look anything alike. The fact that the man is wearing a Union general's uniform should have been a dead giveaway. This fast-food approach to history (as epitomized on the History Channel) really doesn't do the subject justice.

But the most annoying thing about this book, and the thing that will mark it for obscurity within the next year or so is how it constantly knocks President George W. Bush. I'm sorry... was this book originally titled "Lost States and Why It's George Bush's Fault?"

PLEASE, someone use the preliminary research here to write a decent book on this subject!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband had wanted this book for a long time after hearing the author interviewed on NPR, but after reading it, he said he would have to agree with other reviews (on and off Amazon) that said the book seems a bit half-done, not researched as thoroughly has it could've or should've been, and sometimes glosses over things. Interesting, but I'd get it from the library and pick a different book to buy!
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Format: Kindle Edition
When I first saw this book, I thought "What a great topic for a book!" And it is a great topic. It's too bad it was, in my opinion, really mishandled.

The book has quite a bit of breadth (74 "states" are covered), but no depth. Each "state" gets two pages, one of which is a full-page map. The facing page contains more pictures (which are often only tangentially related to the topic); lots of tepid, uncreative jokes; and a little information.

The maps range from interesting to out-and-out bad (one clearly has hand-drawn marker on it; one has Wyoming on the western border of Kansas--which is the reason I downgraded the book from two stars). I think there were . . . maybe four? historical facts that I learned from a 160-page book, but the history was, in places, just as bad as the maps (quote: "[George Washington] was the most popular and powerful man in the world." WILDLY FALSE. WILDLY.)

I don't know who this book is written for. It doesn't give enough background information to teach much to American history novices (it would have helped a little if the order of the "states" were chronological instead of alphabetical), and it's too superficial to teach anything to people who already have solid American history background.

In short, this is a book with the pace and tone of an Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, but without the depth or intelligence.
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