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Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World (Politics of Place #1) (Hardcover)
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In the bestselling tradition of Why Nations Fail and The Revenge of Geography, an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers.
All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas, and concrete. To understand world events, news organizations and other authorities often focus on people, ideas, and political movements, but without geography, we never have the full picture. Now, in the relevant and timely Prisoners of Geography, seasoned journalist Tim Marshall examines Russia, China, the USA, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan and Korea, and Greenland and the Arctic—their weather, seas, mountains, rivers, deserts, and borders—to provide a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders.
In ten, up-to-date maps of each region, Marshall explains in clear and engaging prose the complex geo-political strategies of these key parts of the globe. What does it mean that Russia must have a navy, but also has frozen ports six months a year? How does this affect Putin’s treatment of the Ukraine? How is China’s future constrained by its geography? Why will Europe never be united? Why will America never be invaded? Shining a light on the unavoidable physical realities that shape all of our aspirations and endeavors, Prisoners of Geography is the critical guide to one of the major (and most often overlooked) determining factors in world history.
About the Author
Tim Marshall is a leading authority on foreign affairs with more than thirty years of reporting experience. He was diplomatic editor at Sky News and before that worked for the BBC and LBC/IRN radio. He has reported from forty countries and covered conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. He is the author of Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World; The Age of Walls: How Barriers Between Nations Are Changing Our World; and A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols. He is founder and editor of the current affairs site TheWhatandtheWhy.com.
"[Q]uite simply, one of the best books about geopolitics you could imagine: reading it is like having a light shone on your understanding."
— The Evening Standard
"In an ever more complex,chaotic and interlinked world, Prisoners of Geography is a concise and useful primer on geopolitics.”
"Marshall is excellent on some of the highways and byways of geo-politics."
— Financial Times
"Fans of geography, history and politics (and maps) will be enthralled."
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"This is not a book about environmental determinism – the geography of a region is never presented as fatalistic; but it does send a timely reminder that despite technological advances, geography is always there, often forcing the hand of world leaders."
— Geographical Magazine
"Lively and perceptive political and historical analyses are frequent. The chapter on China is excellent; the chapter on Africa combines geography and history in a convincing way; the chapter on Western Europe...is a brilliant narrative of European relations,particularly between France and Germany. The superb chapter on the Middle East makes for a clear indictment of the Sykes–Picot agreements and of their tracing of artificial borders. The chapter on the Arctic is precise and informative ...A very lively, sensible and informative series of country reports in which geography occupies its rightful place along with shrewd historical reminders and political judgments."
— Survival: Global Politics and Strategy
"Marshall's insistence on seeing the world through the lens of geography compels a fresh way of looking at maps—not just as objects for orientation or works of art, but as guideposts to the often thorny relations between nations.”
— New York Times Book Review
"This book is especially timely...Landscapes, rugged or otherwise, and what the land holds in resources, exert their own kind of sway that no one, not even a Putin, can surmount. This book grabbed me because of its enormous relevance to our world today."
“A convincing analysis of Russian geopoliticalthinking....Also makes clear the terrible price the world has had to paybecause European officials decided to create nation-states with borders thatcompletely ignored cultural geography.”
— Washington Post