Saturday, May 22, 2010
Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein
What a fun romp through America through the lens of states that never came to be. Some of the propositions in this book are completely far-fetched (The state of Albania?) but others give a fascinating look at just how arbitrary the borders of the lower 48 are. This is a great read for people who think that history is dull and dry and doesn't lend itself to writing with any sort of voice. Trinklein's humor pervades his writing and makes the material in this book even more fascinating. It's people like Trinklein who should be writing textbooks, not the robots who currently seem to grace the textbook publishing world. I teach 6th grade social studies and I have a hard time staying awake when I read our textbook. How am I expected to tell 6th graders what's important if no one can stay awake long enough to read it? I understand the need to be objective and politically correct when writing about history, but the problem is, when you take the humanness out of writing, no one wants to read it. Fun books like this are the antidote to mind-numbing textbooks.