Carlisle Reads 2014 has now ended; thank you to all of our participants and volunteers for a great set of events and discussions! Read more perspectives on American Nations in the January 8 and January 15 issues of the Carlisle Mosquito.
What if all of Carlisle read and discussed one book? In January, 2014, all were invited to read and discuss American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, by Colin Woodard. Read on for the full schedule of events below.
206 people voted this summer; American Nations led with 102 votes, followed by Susan Cain’s Quiet (70 votes), Double Cross by Ben Macintyre (58), Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (47) and You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon (30). Voters could endorse up to two titles on the ballot.
If you have suggestions for future titles or programs, or if you’d be interested in helping to plan Carlisle Reads, please email Martha at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask at the Library any time.
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ABOUT THIS YEAR’S TITLE
American Nations: a History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, by Colin Woodard
If you want to better understand U.S. politics, history, and culture, American Nations is required reading.
In AMERICAN NATIONS, Woodard leads us through the history of our fractured continent, and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations. He explains why "American values" vary sharply from one region to another—how an idea like "freedom" as understood by an East Texan or Idahoan can be the polar opposite of what it means to a New Englander or San Franciscan. Woodard reveals how intra-national differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent’s history, right up into the 2012 election cycle. AMERICAN NATIONS is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America’s myriad identities, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and mold our future.
There isn’t and never has been one America, Colin Woodard argues, but rather several Americas. The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Islands, and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain, each with unique religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics. Some championed individualism, others utopian social reform. Some believed themselves guided by divine purpose, others freedom of conscience and inquiry. Some embraced an Anglo-Saxon Protestant identity, others ethnic and religious pluralism. Some valued equality and democratic participation, others deference to a traditional aristocratic order. All of them continue to uphold their respective ideals today, with results that can be seen on the composition of the U.S. Congress or the county-by-county election maps of most any competitive presidential election of the past two centuries.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colin Woodard is an award-winning journalist and the author of American Nations: A History of The Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (Viking, 2011), The Republic of Pirates: Being The True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down (Harcourt, 2007), The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier (Viking, 2004), and Ocean’s End: Travels Through Endangered Seas (Basic Books, 2000).
He is currently State & National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram and received a 2012 George Polk Award for an investigative project he did for those papers. He also received the 2004 Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Public Advocacy (for his global environmental reporting), the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Non-Fiction (for American Nations), a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Study, and was a finalist for a 2013 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.
A longtime foreign correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, he has reported from more than fifty foreign countries and six continents from postings in Budapest, Zagreb, Washington, D.C. and the US-Mexico border. His work has appeared in dozens of publications including The Economist, Smithsonian, The Washington Post, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Bloomberg View , and Down East.
American Nations was named a Best Book of 2011 by the editors of both The New Republic and The Globalist, and received the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Non-fiction. The Lobster Coast was a New England bestseller and Booksense Notable Title. An NBC prime time television drama series based on The Republic of Pirates will begin airing in February 2014 under the title “Crossbones” and starring John Malkovich. Woodard was named Best Portland Author in 2009 and 2012 by the readers of the Portland Phoenix and in2013 to Maine the Magazine’s list of “Fifty Making a Difference” in Maine.
He has been a guest on the PBS News Hour, NPR’s Weekend Edition, APM’s Marketplace, PRI’s Living on Earth, The History Channel’s How the States Got Their Shapes, Al Jazeera America, New England Cable News, Voice of America Television, CBC-Radio, and dozens of local and regional radio and television networks in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean.
Woodard has been awarded numerous fellowships including a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a policy fellowship at the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest, and journalism grants or fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Institute for International Education, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the United States Antarctic Program.
He is a graduate of Tufts University and has a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago, where he was awarded the 1997 Morton Kaplan prize for his thesis on the causes of ethnic conflict in the Balkans. Born in Waterville and raised in western Maine, he now lives in Midcoast Maine with his wife, Sarah Skillin Woodard, and their son.
- 1776 Film Showings: RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY 2/15
- Book Discussions: Monday, January 13, 10:15 a.m. & Wednesday, January 22, 7 p.m.
- Songs and Supper from American Nations, with the Savoyard Light Opera Company: Saturday, January 18, 5 p.m., at Union Hall (SOLD OUT)
- Author Talk: Colin Woodard: Sunday, January 26, 2 p.m., at Corey Auditorium
- Poetry with Mary Zoll: Sherman Alexie: Tuesday, January 28, 10:30 a.m.
- Regional Identities in American Art, with Martin Fox: Thursday, January 30, 7 p.m.
Programs will be held at the Gleason Public Library Hollis Room unless otherwise specified. Thank you to the Friends of Gleason Public Library and Gleason Trustees for their support of Carlisle Reads, and to the Friends of the Carlisle Council on Aging for sponsoring Martin Fox’s lecture.
Author Talk with Colin Woodard
Sunday, January 26, 2 p.m., at Corey Auditorium (Snow date February 9)
For the first time, Carlisle will welcome the author of our Carlisle Reads choice. Join Colin Woodard for a talk on the American Nations, followed by a Q&A session.
There’s never been one America, Woodard argues in his award-winning book, but rather several Americas, each with its own, centuries-old ideals, values, and religious and cultural heritage. Understanding the real map of the continent and its rival cultures is essential to grasping our history, from the divisions of the American Revolution and Civil War to the "blue county / red county" maps of past and recent elections.
Colin Woodard, an award-winning author and journalist, is State & National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, where he recently won a 2012 George Polk Award for his investigative reporting. He is a longtime foreign correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor , The Chronicle of Higher Education and The San Francisco Chronicle. A native of Maine, he has reported from more than fifty foreign countries and six continents, and lived for more than four years in Eastern Europe. He is the author of American Nations: A History of The Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (Viking Press, 2011), The Republic of Pirates: Being The True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down (Harcourt, 2007), the New England bestseller The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier (Viking Press, 2004), a cultural and environmental history of coastal Maine, and Ocean’s End: Travels Through Endangered Seas (Basic Books, 2000), a narrative non-fiction account of the deterioration of the world’s oceans. He lives in Midcoast Maine. www.colinwoodard.com
Call 978-369-4898 or stop by the library to reserve your spot.
Monday, January 13, 10:15 a.m., and Wednesday, January 22, at 7 p.m.
Did Woodard’s arguments convince you? Do you think there’s more to the story? How does the book’s analysis apply in Carlisle and New England today? Join friends and neighbors for what are sure to be lively and thought-provoking discussions of the themes and argument of American Nations.
Film Showings: Get in the Spirit
Saturday, January 11, 2 p.m. & Wednesday, January 15, 1:30 p.m.
Bring the family to watch a classic musical comedy on the origin of our American nation, and see the Founding Fathers work out their regional differences to sign the Declaration of Independence! 142 min.; rated PG for language.
Songs and Supper from American Nations, with the Savoyard Light Opera Company
Saturday, January 18, 5 p.m., at Union Hall (Snow date February 1)
(SOLD OUT) Advance tickets required, on sale at the Library December 7 through January 13
An evening of Americana, featuring a musical medley performance by the Savoyard Light Opera Company, followed by a supper of Yankee Roast Turkey and El Norte Chili. Potluck appetizers and desserts are encouraged: bring something from your native region, a family dish, or a specialty from any other American Nation that tickles your fancy. Tickets available at the Library for $15 per person, discounted to $10 if you are bringing something for the potluck.
Poetry with Mary Zoll: Sherman Alexie
Tuesday, January 28, 10:30 a.m.
Dip or dive into the pleasures of poetry. Sherman Alexie’s poetry draws on his Native American background and experiences growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. This informal course, led by Mary Zoll, includes poetry readings and reactions, discussions of the patterns and techniques used in the poems, and perhaps some intellectual understanding of the poems. Mary Zoll has published a few poems and read a multitude of poems.
Regional Identities in American Art, with Martin Fox
Thursday, January 30, 7 p.m. (Snow date February 13)
How are the differences between America’s regions reflected in their art? Art historian Martin Fox will present a lively look at American art by region from the 19th through mid-20th centuries. Fox heads the Art History program at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he has taught for seven years, including courses centered on modern art, contemporary art, American art, the history of photography and of printmaking. He is fascinated by what the visual arts can tell us about the past and present, and how artists have contributed to what it means to be human. Register at 978-369-4898 or at the Reference Desk.