Press & Praise







"Witty and thoughtful, with plenty of vibrant characters and vivid descriptions, The Not-Quite States of America is also a well-researched history and a highly enjoyable travelogue. Frequent fliers and armchair travelers alike will relish Mack's account and wonder where he's headed next."


“Having ventured 30,000 miles to visit U.S. territories around the world, Doug Mack has embarked on one of the most extraordinary ‘American’ journeys of all time. Hilarious and moving, Mack also tackles serious issues—from the history of slavery in the U.S. Virgin Islands to the role of Guam in World War II to the battles over the sweatshops of Saipan—all while exploring how these not-quite states came to be part of America. This book, quite simply, is travel writing at its finest.

 — Andrew Carroll, author of War Letters and Here Is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History


"A thoughtful blend of history, insight, and first-person experiences colors this travelogue focused on some of the most overlooked parts of America, the United States territories. Travel writer Mack sets out to learn more about these distant neighbors and shares his insights in this entertaining, informative study. . . . Mack’s thoughtful assessment of American colonialism, underlined by the question of which cultural aspects of each territory should be retained and which should be assimilated into broader American culture, is the spine of the book. Rather than taking an authoritative approach, Mack lets the residents do just as much of the talking and analyzing, making for a strong book sure to spark thought and inspire further research."


"When he realized he didn’t know “why or how the United States controlled them, why they weren’t states, who lived there, what life was like there,” he set off to find out. “The Not-Quite States of America” is the dandy result."


"Throughout the deft narrative, Mack presents numerous revealing vignettes of far-flung Yankee civilization, many the results of our experiments with Manifest Destiny over a century ago, when Uncle Sam traveled to Polynesia, Micronesia, and the Caribbean searching for military outposts and a place in world affairs. An entertaining, informative guidebook to some cool places populated by people to whom attention should be paid."


"An informative romp through the country's lesser-explored areas, this book will engage history and political science buffs, along with travelers interested in the complete United States of America."


"One will never think about the United States in quite the same way after this enjoyable read."


"The Not-Quite States of America is both informative and fun to read because of the way Mack alternates sections of hard fact with stories about the kind of thing most of us wish would happen to us when traveling somewhere for the first time: invitations to local parties, private tours of residences and museums, invitations to family meals, bar-hopping with the locals, the chance to speak with prominent local politicians, etc. ... Part travel book, part American history book, part sociology book, The Not-Quite States of America is always intriguing. "




“Doug Mack, a connoisseur of the offbeat, turns his keen eye to the USA’s forgotten lands, and the result is the Great American Road Trip with a twist. Funny and engaging, Mack is the perfect guide to these simultaneously strange and familiar places, and the book goes to the heart of a perennial and, these days, urgent question: What does it mean to be American?”

 — Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Genius


“Our fellow Americans living in territories may not have senators or members of Congress to represent them. But they do have Doug Mack’s terrific book to reintroduce us to their unique histories and cultures and to point out just how connected we all really are to the people in these seemingly far-flung places. A fun and fascinating adventure.”

— Brady Carlson, author of Dead Presidents


“To truly understand the United States, one must understand The Not-Quite States of America. Doug Mack opens our eyes to the variety of reasons we need them in this consistently entertaining read.

— Mark Stein, author of How the States Got Their Shapes







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