50 States of Mind: A Journey To Rediscover American Democracy by Ryan Bernsten Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Author Ryan Bernsten gives hope back to readers who have seen nothing but divide among Americans in recent years by shedding light on what brings people together in the travel nonfiction book “50 States of Mind: A Journey to Rediscover American Democracy”.


The Synopsis

Is America as divided as it seems? Oxford University graduate student Ryan Bernsten takes a 23,000-mile journey through all 50 states of his home country to answer that question.

50 States of Mind: A Journey to Rediscover American Democracy is a work of travel nonfiction in the style of Alexis de Tocqueville that takes readers on a long and winding journey through all 50 states to explore the complexities of today’s America. Leading with the desire to listen and overcome preconceived notions, Bernsten ultimately offers a hopeful vision for the future of America as he embarks on a search for meaning and reflects on what it means to be American. The companion podcast “50 States of Mind,” featured in Condé Nast Traveler, showcases live interviews from the journey and is available on all podcast platforms.

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The Review

This was a compelling and thoughtful read. The author does an amazing job of tapping into the heart of the American tapestry, showcasing that despite a vastly different look at the same subject, people from all over share far more in common than we believe. The discoveries the author makes, from the use of specific terminology being the dividing line that keeps rural farmers and progressive city dwellers from being on the same page concerning everything from climate change to how different national politics can be from local, community-driven politics and policies, really kept the reader invested in the author’s journey.

To me, the heart of this book rests in both the author’s hopeful tone throughout his writing and the balance of personal experiences with enriching interviews with a variety of people. The divide that exists in our world today happens so often because the negative, harsh voices are often the loudest, and yet through this book the author shows the hopeful tone that rests underneath the current of negativity, and the relatable journey he takes both himself and through his discussions with people of all walks of life made this such a compelling book to behold. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, memorable, and engaging, author Ryan Bernsten’s “50 States of Mind: A Journey to Rediscover American Democracy” is a must-read nonfiction read that blends the discovery of travel with the introspective nature of getting to know others and their varied perspectives. The heart and passion in the author’s writing and the thoughtful approach to this subject will keep readers enthralled as the story unfolds. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Ryan Bernsten is a graduate of Northwestern University and Oxford’s Creative Writing Master’s program. He has written for The Oxford Political Review, USA Today, The Infatuation, and The Trevor Project, where he is the Senior Managing Editor. Ryan is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been performed across the US and UK. ryanbernsten.com


1 thought on “50 States of Mind: A Journey To Rediscover American Democracy by Ryan Bernsten Review

  1. Pingback: Interview with Author Ryan Bernsten  | Author Anthony Avina's Blog

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