"Prisoners of Geography: Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics."
Tim Marshall's book is a quick over view of world history through the lens of geography. By analyzing the role that geography has played on the major continents of the world he clearly and concisely explores how the lay of the land, access to oceans, and the obstacles of mountains, deserts and jungles have effected the world since ancient times. The book shows in an easy to understand format and language how the geographical forces that shaped humanities early history continues to shape world politics today.
In a similar fashion that "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond let us see how the latitude and longitude of location effected the development of technologies and the rise and dominance of Western civilization, Marshall's book permits the reader to understand how geography has also led to the rapid development of some areas of the world, and the spread of some cultures over others. The role of rivers in Western Europe and North America, the lack of warm water ports for Russia, the importance of the Ukrainian lands between, and the sometimes farcical divisions of territories based not on the obvious geographical and cultural traditions but by imperial bureaucrats are covered. Why the Mediterranean cultures advanced in modern times yet the African and Latin American territories could not. The book is both a key to understanding ancient and modern history and forms a bridge between them. Essential reading for anyone interested in both ancient history and its modern outcomes.
All leaders are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Yes, to follow world events you need to understand people, ideas and movements - but if you don't know geography, you'll never have the full picture.
If you've ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower, or why China's power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here.
In ten chapters (covering Russia; China; the USA; Latin America; the Middle East; Africa; India and Pakistan; Europe; Japan and Korea; and the Arctic), using maps, essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential insight into one of the major factors that determines world history.
It's time to put the 'geo' back into geopolitics.