Foreword author(s)

For fifty years geographer Wilbur Zelinsky has charted the social, cultural, and historical map of the American experience. A self-confessed incurable landscape voyeur, he has produced order and pattern from massive amounts of data, zestfully finding societal meaning in the terra incognita of our postmodern existence. Now he has gathered his most original and exciting explorations into a volume that captures the nature and dynamics of this remarkable phenomenon we call the United States of America. Each the product of Zelinsky's joyous curiosity, these energetic essays trace the innermost contours of our bewildering American reality.

“If there is an unstudied cultural phenomenon, Zelinsky will find some way to measure it, map it, explain it, and assess its significance to our national life. And, if the truth were told, he does it for himself. You and I get to go along for the ride. He needs a scene as broad and diverse as North America to satisfy his insatiable interest in human diversity and cultural change.”—Calvin L. Beale
“Wilbur Zelinsky successfully combines the science of geography with the humanity of geography. As a result, his work is of interest to the scientist and general reader alike. The problem up to now has been finding Zelinsky's essays, since he has reached the widest possible audience by appearing in the widest possible distribution of journals. 'Up to now . . .' Hurrah for Exploring the Beloved Country for solving the problem!”—Roger Welsch
“…a fine collection that fétes a career within American geography. Yet at the same time [it] is a wonderful and useful commentary on the ways that the diverse people of the United States transform their domestic world.”—Journal of Historical Geography
“…this is a highly readable book that is leavened by Zelinsky's lively prose and unfailing good humor about the somewhat offbeat enterprise that he has made his life's work. The present volume …includes a brief commentary at the end of each article …in which he reveals his second thoughts on the subjects at hand, a refreshing display of humility in a collection of scholarly articles. It all makes for good reading that promises to repay readers who will surely come away with a fresh perspective on what makes our country the fascinating place that it is.”—North Dakota History

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Publication Details

Publication Date
624 pages
Trim size
5 figures
69 photos, 134 maps, 50 tables