What readers think of State by State, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

State by State

A Panoramic Portrait of America

by Sean Wilsey, Matt Weiland

State by State by Sean Wilsey, Matt Weiland X
State by State by Sean Wilsey, Matt Weiland
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 608 pages

    Oct 2009, 608 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 2 of 3
There are currently 18 reader reviews for State by State
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!


Unique Voices
So many unique voices make for a fascinating view of these United States of America. And the beautiful descriptions of the land and the people inhabiting the towns and byways lend souls to these states. The sorrow that we may not be caring for the land is very evident in some of the essays, that we might need to tread a little lighter, that the stories of the past might be seen in the present and that the present is a gift and that this book is indeed a gift to us.

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America
I truly enjoyed this book and I will continue to find it useful as time goes on. Not only is there an intriguing essay about each state but also there is an opening page for each state providing a variety of geo-political and cultural information about each, as well as some comparison tables in the appendix.

Since one can easily skip around I quickly went to each of the states in which I have lived since I was a child. I found the essays really captured my recollections of each state. I currently reside in Oklahoma and was thoroughly amused by Ms. Hinton's final comments.

Since Oklahoma also suffered one of the biggest terrorist attacks on US soil she felt that people around the world would have an example of the nobility and grace, with which Americans can cope with such disater and would understand why she chooses to live here. Instead they still ask why Oklahoma?

Even if you have never spent time anywhere else in the US, you can enjoy true reflections of the good, the bad and the beautiful about each state.

Well done, I say.

State by State
The book is arranged alphabetically by state, so I began with Alabama (civil rights movement). Deciding to stay in the South, I went next to Georgia (Chinese immigrant buys first home). Then to Florida (boy enjoys endless sun and surf).

Deciding to leave the Hot Zone, I headed for Alaska (fishing for king salmon) and Oregon (365 days of showers, interrupted occasionally by sunshine). Then to the Midwest and Illinois, which claims to be first in everything (but what about North Carolina, which is First in Flight?) On to stalwart Vermont, some of whose citizens want to be the first to secede from the Union. I hope they don't prevail; 50 is such a nice round number.

The articles are both fact-filled and entertaining. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't enjoy reading them.

State by State
State by State, a book with an essay for each state, is a literary work first, and secondly a historical work. Fifty eclectic writers have presented their assigned states with different focuses, i.e. personal, historical, comical, complimentary, and insulting.

If you enjoy the travel writings of Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, or Bill Bryson, this is your book. If you enjoy periodicals, such as The New Yorker or the Oxford American, this is your book.

It is a book to place next to your chair, so you can read a chapter every so often. I plan to re-read my copy in that fashion.

America the Beautiful
State by State is beautifully written and informative.
Each author focuses on his or her experience in that state and this personal view left a lasting impression on me. Also,there are 30 interesting comparison tables on topics such as cigarette & oil consumption , & education expenditure per pupil. In addition, each state 'story' is preceded by a list of facts such as state capital, bird, flower, tree, motto etc. which can be helpful to crossword puzzle enthusiasts.

My only criticism is that some stories are too skewed, focusing only on a city or a certain aspect of that city while ignoring the rest of the state.

However, this book has intensified my love for the United States and her people. It would appeal to all who are curious about our country. State by State will enrich a classroom and school library.
Mary Ann

America, The Unique
State by State is filled with essays from contemporary writers who take a look at a particular state and how it measures up with modern culture. Do not get this confused with a travelogue, because it isn't. It's more about the differences, and the similarities, between the vast geographical area. We are becoming more alike thanks to modern conveniences (internet, TV), but there are still some things we all do because we're from a certain area, and that makes all the difference.

What you don't know about America
Inspired by a WPA project that produced books about each state and dedicated to the proposition that although the country is being increasingly homogenized the states still retain unique characteristics, this book consists of 50 essays by 50 exceptional writers – one per state. Unlike the WPA books, these are not travelogues but widely varied responses to each state based on the experience of the writer. Each state essay is preceded by a page of the state statistics that you had to learn in the 5th grade with a section of more esoteric statistics at the back. They also include a photo for each state chosen by the writer – Maine is the most surprising.

The writers grew up in their state and never left, grew up in their state and couldn’t wait to leave, came to the state as adults or – in a few cases – seem to be just idly passing through. The formats of the essays are eclectic including a graphic essay and an interview with “the state.” Some are very poignant and some are quite humorous. John Hodgman (you know him best as PC in the Apple ads) uses his sly wit to send up the Bay Staters who remain convinced that Massachusetts – or at least Boston – is truly the hub of the universe. Dave Eggers writes a very American style love letter to Illinois (we’re #1) stressing it’s most important residents – Lincoln and Oprah. Some of the essays cover the entire state. Others concentrate on a specific area. They may deal with state politics, state history, resident temperaments, the author’s specific experience or the beauty of the environment. Most of the environmental ones often also mourn the loss of much of that beauty.

This is a collection well worth reading – put it on your night stand and dip into a state or two a night. You will learn a lot about the country and at the very least, it will improve your Jeopardy scores.

the good old usa
I went into this book with a little trepidation. I don't usually read a lot of non-fiction. 50 by 50, great, a bunch of writers telling me why their state is the greatest right! well after reading the intro alone I could tell that was not to be - some of the writers didn't even live in the state they were writing about. I found the book to be absolutely fascinating. Little known historical events,trips down to the end of the road. The mountains,valleys,cities,and small towns that make this country what it is. Read this book, read it by your favorite author, your favorite state, or just from page one to the last. I loved it!
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: A Mystery of Mysteries
    A Mystery of Mysteries
    by Mark Dawidziak
    Edgar Allan Poe biographers have an advantage over other writers because they don't have to come up ...
  • Book Jacket: Moonrise Over New Jessup
    Moonrise Over New Jessup
    by Jamila Minnicks
    Jamila Minnicks' debut novel Moonrise Over New Jessup received the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially...
  • Book Jacket
    The Magician's Daughter
    by H.G. Parry
    "Magic isn't there to be hoarded like dragon's treasure. Magic is kind. It comes into ...
  • Book Jacket: The Great Displacement
    The Great Displacement
    by Jake Bittle
    On August 4, 2021, California's largest single wildfire to date torched through the small mountain ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Nurse's Secret
by Amanda Skenandore
A fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America's first nursing school.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Russian Doll
    by Kristen Loesch

    A haunting epic of betrayal, revenge, and redemption following three generations of Russian women.

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost English Girl
    by Julia Kelly

    A story of love, betrayal, and motherhood set against the backdrop of World War II and the early 1960s.

Who Said...

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

R Peter T P P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.