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Not-Quite States of America

The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA

Smithsonian

“Admitting his own ignorance about the U.S. territories, travel writer Doug Mack set out to learn about them, and his book is a collection of dispatches from American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Featured in Smithsonian’s Best Travel Books of 2017.

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The Not-Quite States of America is the dandy result of travel writer Dough Mack’s solicitous assessment of American colonialism, underlined by the reasonable question, whether the different cultural aspects of each territory needs to be retained or should it be incorporated into the broader American culture. 

The inspiration behind this book dates back to the time when he realized about his lack of knowledge as to why or how the United States controlled the territories, why they aren’t even considered as states, who dwelled in these places and what life would have been like, in these territories.

Mack carefully forays into each territorial acquisition’s deep history. He grapples with the foundation of each territory’s arcane legal status. And his findings are shocking: Not all the territories contemplate to statehood or complete citizenship rights.

The research conducted by Mack ascertains that the present odd situation of these territories can be accounted to 1901 when the Supreme court decided that although these territories belonged to the USA, they are not wholly part of it.  And this would, in turn, give Congress the right to decide the applicable laws for these territories. 

With a delightful blend of insightful history and first-person experience that fills the pages of Not-Quite States of America, there is a considerable focus being given to the most overlooked parts of the USA, the U.S. territories. This travelogue is undoubtedly an informative and entertaining guidebook to some fascinating places inhabited by people who deserve attention.