Mapping Your 'American Futures' Suggestions

600 possibilities for the next stops along the way.

I've put up a new post on our special American Futures project page, mapping the locations of the 600 smaller cities that readers have written in to recommend for a visit.*

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As I say in that post, what is remarkable about the submissions is not their volume but the care, quality, and vividness with which so many people have explained what is significant about the stories and dramas of their towns. I know the comparison is grandiose, but it feels like an unexpected and ad hoc modern counterpart to the detailed local chronicles of 1930s America during the Federal Writers Project.

A live version of the map, which allows you to zoom in to see individual cities, is at the site. What you see above is a static screen shot, including the simple blue line for the first leg of the trip, from the Washington DC area to Holland, Michigan, where we are right now.

More maps and other "permanent beta" improvements coming soon. For now, good night, and thanks for the fascinating ideas. 

* Previously I offered this navigation tip, which is no longer necessary since the posting order has been changed. The fine-tuning message remains.

"Navigation tip: on the left-hand column of that special page you will see four little dots, representing the four existing entries on the site. If you click on the bottom-most dot, you will get the most recent entry. We are fine-tuning this and many other aspects of the site, which is a collaboration involving brand-new software and is being refined and improved in real time.)"

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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