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The Day America Told The Truth

From Academic Kids

The Day America Told The Truth is the title of a non-fiction book co-written by James Patterson and Peter Kim. It was originally published in 1991.

The sub title of the book is: What People Really Believe About Everything That Really Matters. There were several editions, and among them a hard cover version issued in New York by Prentice Hall Press in 1991 with ISBN 0134634802.

The book provides a wealth of information about how many different demographic groups of people within the United States, defined by various criteria, feel about issues ranging from race to sex to personal honesty. It has chiefly become famous, however, for the co-authors' geographical division of the country into nine moral regions, based largely upon the observations first made by Joel Garreau in his earlier book, The Nine Nations of North America, but with two important differences, those being Garreau's "nations" of The Foundry and Dixie — in each case, where Garreau saw only one psychographic entity, Patterson and Kim claim to have discovered two: The Foundry is further subdivided into Metropolis, comprising the eastern seaboard, and the Rust Belt, consisting of the Great Lakes region, while Dixie is split into the New South, encompassing most of the area covered by the Census Bureau's South Atlantic States, and Old Dixie, which includes the Southern states that have coastlines on the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Atlantic Ocean, along with the landlocked states that lie due north of these (in addition, Patterson and Kim do not recognize Garreau's placement of South Florida with much of the Caribbean in his "nation" of "The Islands," choosing to place it in the New South instead).

Rather than this being evidence of Patterson and Kim disagreeing with Garreau, these differences can plausibly be seen in the context of an update from Garreau's schematic, as the "greed decade" of the 1980s helped wean the Northeastern megalopolis off of its previous dependence upon heavy industry, while the Sun Belt phenomenon brought about certain fundamental changes in the South Atlantic states, but not elsewhere in the South (Garreau's book was published in 1981, ten years before Patterson and Kim's).

Besides the above differences, Patterson and Kim also use different names for all of their other moral regions, except New England; Garreau's Breadbasket is instead called The Granary, the "Empty Quarter" is renamed Marlboro Country, the region Garreau calls "Mexamerica" is changed, somewhat awkwardly, to L.A.-Mex by Patterson and Kim, while "Ecotopia" in Garreau's geography becomes the Pac Rim in the newer book, which, unlike the earlier work, does not extend any of the entities beyond the borders of the United States (rendering the latter's Quebec irrelevant); otherwise, the boundaries of these regions differ little if at all in the two systems.

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