For American history buffs, Derek Hayes' The Historical Atlas of the United States is a dream come true: It's a detailed pictorial history of America's ever-evolving political and cultural byways and boundaries. This curious and, at the same time, amazingly ambitious narrative starts out with reproductions of early American maps in which the Eastern states are well delineated, while the West is uncharted desert. It marches on through America's growth spurts, reproducing early road and interstate maps, Cold War maps and the graphics used to represent Hurricane Katrina. Hayes knows this medium well, having previously written atlases of the Pacific Northwest, Canada and the Artic. Here he draws on more than 500 maps so even readers who found their minds wandering during history classes will find this book of interest, though they might get sidetracked by some of the more whimsical features. For example, one map, reproduced from the Internet shortly after the 2004 presidential election, divides North America into The United States of Canada (i.e. Canada and those states that voted for John Kerry) and Jesusland, those states that went to George W. Bush.

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