Prisoners of Geography : Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics Hardback
by Tim Marshall
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.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 256 pages
- Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited
- Publication Date: 09/07/2015
- Category: Geopolitics
- ISBN: 9781783961412
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Review by atticusfinch1048
Prisoners of Geography – A Much needed lessonAs someone whose family has been victims of the Geography of where they lived and who they were in an often much forgotten episode of the Second World War. People forget that when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 their allies Russia invaded Poland on the 17th September 1939. My great-Grandmother was ‘exiled’ to Siberia because her son was fighting for the enemy (the Polish Government) and her husband was an officer in the Polish Police. My Grandfather escaped a Nazi POW camp made his way to France and after its fall to the UK. My great-Grandfather was never heard of again, and members of my family perished at Katyn, when my great-Grandmother was released in 1946 from Siberia, she could not go home, as her home was in the Stalin creation of Western Ukraine and was ‘moved’ to Krakow.Many Eastern European Governments did not speak out when Russia moved in to the Crimea region whereas Western Leaders could not help themselves but make comments. Why the difference? Partly geography and mainly history, Crimea had been Russian until 1964 when Khrushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine, oh and Khrushchev was a Ukrainian. What we have not heard is a lot about Russia’s interference in Eastern Ukraine which Eastern Europe is very concerned about.Tim Marshall’s excellent book Prisoners of Geography which examines ten maps of the world and then given a concise geopolitical history of that region. You will find out why Russian is concerned about Europe’s eastern border countries, and why it sees Poland as the gateway to the Russian plains as well as the European plains, and feels pretty secure with its other borders.There is also an excellent examination on why China has finally come from behind the bamboo curtain and playing an active part with investments across the Asiatic content. That they are not afraid to sabre rattle amongst the USA naval fleet when it sails too close to China.We also get examinations of the Middle East, which is very apt, with some excellent analysis which some of our political leaders could do with and understanding before making crass statements on what is happening there. In the chapter that covers the Middle East the reader is reminded very much of the artificial borders that were drawn up by the Sykes-Picot Agreement in May 1916, a secret agreement that was concluded by two British and French diplomats. The Sykes-Picot Agreement involved itself with the partition of the Ottoman Empire once World War One had ended. The consequences of which are still reverberating throughout the Middle East and people wonder why the British are not trusted by countries such as Iran.There are also excellent chapters that cover Africa, Korea and Japan, the United States as well as the southern Americas. One could go forensically through all the chapters and set them out here but the reader needs to engage this book.What Tim Marshall gives the reader is an excellent lesson and reminders that geography influences political decisions, strategic decisions of governments and the attitudes of the people. This book also can open one’s eyes to the fact that geography gives context to political and historical events such as revolutions or various embargos that happen across the globe.This is an excellent book which students of geography, history and politics should be required to read and those not so bright people that get elected to Parliaments need to read. This book puts a lot of recent and historical events in to context and understanding that context is so important. Buy this book, borrow this book and give this book it is too important to remain on the shelves getting dusty.