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Prisoners of Geography

Prisoners of Geography

Tim Marshall
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

This is a book based on ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics. In common with all Marshall’s books it is beautifully written, highly informative and well researched; it should be on the reading list of anyone even remotely interested in politics, geography, the natural World, the armed forces or travel.

After the powerful Forward and Introductions the ten chapters cover Russia, China, USA, Western Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and Pakistan, Korea and Japan, Latin America, and the Arctic, each one packed with information and answers to many subjects that were probably mysteries previously.

Take the first Chapter, for example, which discusses population movement, why Russia needs a warm-water port, the significance through history of the North European Plain, the breakup of the Soviet Union and speculates on future events for Russia. Throughout the publication are references to language, tribalism, communications, the geographical influence on the economy and stability of nations, and the reasons why our lives are shaped by our geography.

If you have ever wondered why national borders in the Middle East are shown as straight lines on maps, then it’s all here as are the reasons for so many tensions in the region. There is a discussion all about the US being the richest and most powerful in the World, and why its neighbour Mexico is poor, lawless and practically ungovernable.

Furthermore, there are explanations as to why Africa is so rich in minerals and yet remains so poor, as well as reasons why the relatively poor country of Pakistan is building the largest seaport in the World, much to the chagrin of its Indian neighbour. Finally, in this portion of examples, why has a major player on the World stage planted a titanium national flag on the seabed under the North Pole? Read all about it in this excellent book.

I have to say that Prisoners of Geography is the most compelling and factual publication that I have read in many years and feel confident of its future as a best-seller.
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Just bought this hoping that Plantyminor may read it having chosen Geography and Economics (and Psychology) as A Level subjects.
If I've only given it 4 stars that's because I've only read a couple of chapters. I like his articles generally and I suspect this is actually a pretty general view done with a broad brush - sufficient, I hope, to interest a 16yo but maybe not really as empirical as it sounds.