A review of Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi by Timothy Pauketat (and more and more). Philip Nobel reviews Mannahatta by Eric Sanderson. A review of Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan's Lost Places of Leisure by David Freeland. Described as a “sorry gateway” in 1996, North Adams, Massachusetts, became a “hidden jewel” six years later — what happened? A review of L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City by John Buntin (and more). Food among the ruins: Detroit, the country’s most depressed metropolis, has zero produce-carrying grocery chains; it also has open land, fertile soil, ample water, and the ingredients to reinvent itself from Motor City to urban farm. North Carolina, it seems, is so redolent of hickdom that it embarrasses the sub-Babbitts of Charlotte’s shovel-ready-for-the-global-economy-in-this-shrinking-world class. The latest chapter in America's obsession with the small town: A review of Thousands of Broadways: Dreams and Nightmares of the American Small Town by Robert Pinsky. Everyone in America wants their town to hit the list of the top five places to live in the US, but what many developers are not asking in the process is, "At what cost?" A review of Strange But True, America: Weird Tales from All 50 States by John Hafnor. A review of How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein.

From Daedalus, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen (Wisconsin): Anti-intellectualism as Romantic Discourse; and Sarah Song (UC-Berkeley): What Does It Mean to Be an American? A review of A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom by Jedediah Purdy. A review of Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea by Joshua Horwitz and Casey Anderson. A review of Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism by Woden Teachout. A review of The American Patriot’s Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America by Richard G. Lee. A review of Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream by Leonard Zeskind. White Man’s Burden: The Dallas suburb of Irving struggles with its sudden diversity. Slate goes inside the business of human smuggling on the Mexican Border. Border Wars: Yasha Levine on a day in the life of a virtual vigilante. A review of books on American Muslim life. What’s American about Chinatown? An interview with Bonnie Tsui, author of American Chinatown. A review of Ethnoburb: The New Ethnic Community in Urban America by Wei Li. Science is telling us that ethnic diversity causes significant problems by diminishing valuable social capital — what then should we do?

A review of America at Risk: Threats to Liberal Self-government in an Age of Uncertainty. A review of The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It by Heather K. Gerken. A review of Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges (more and more and more). An interview with David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong To Get Ahead. A review of The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century by Jacqueline Olds and Richard S. Schwartz. An interview with Theodore Roszak, author of The Making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the Future of America's Most Audacious Generation. A review of The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia by Mike Dash (and more and more). A review of Covering for the Bosses: Labor and the Southern Press by Joseph Atkins. A review of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley. Jackson Lears' cultural history, Rebirth of a Nation, from the Civil War to World War One, is the flip side of Louis Menand’s dazzling take on the same period, The Metaphysical Club (and more at Bookforum). Conservative Revolutionaries: How the Lees of Stratford Hall made and unmade an empire.

Is Obama losing popularity because he's too liberal? The “Obama making mistakes” narrative is at fever pitch, but even if his health-care plan falters, we shouldn’t consider the president a failure — our system makes reform almost impossible. Charm Offensive: How the White House manages the expectations of its base. A review of The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office by David Blumenthal and James Morone. The war on universal healthcare: What's at stake could very well be nothing less than America's own Weimar moment. A review of The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans by Ned Sublette. From The New York Times Magazine, overtired after the hurricane, doctors and nurses in New Orleans injected some patients with drugs; were they trying to comfort those patients — or hasten their deaths? Chronicling Catastrophe: An article on Dave Eggers and the American nonfiction novel. From Salon, an interview with Dave Eggers on the future of journalism, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and his new book, Zeitoun (and more and more and more and more and more; and more at Bookforum). Four years on, Katrina remains cursed by rumour, cliche, lies and racism. A review of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (and more and more and more and more and more and more).