Summary of Prisoners of Geography

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In this thought-provoking study, former journalist Tim Marshall looks at the modern world and offers an obvious if often-ignored explanation for, among other things, why Africa is poor and why America rarely suffers attack: geography. Many analysts downplay the importance of oceans, mountains, jungles and deserts, but Marshall argues that physical terrain is a crucial geopolitical player. Map by map, he catalogs the world powers’ geographic strengths and weaknesses. For instance, China’s rare weak spot is its flat border with Vietnam. For the US, it’s the proximity of a hostile Cuba. Marshall’s breezy tour of the globe is a joy to read. getAbstract recommends it to all curious thinkers especially travelers, international investors, global managers, professors, students, policy makers and NGO personnel.

About the Author

Tim Marshall is a former foreign correspondent for Britain’s Sky News television and an authority on foreign affairs. He has reported from 30 countries, including numerous war zones.



Geography as History and Destiny

Did you ever wonder why China and India share an expansive border, yet have no common linguistic or political characteristics? The same reason explains why these ambitious giants never have warred against each other, with one brief, forgettable exception in 1962: They’re separated by the planet’s most forbidding mountain range. Good luck moving a phalanx of troops through the Himalayas. Yet, despite the Himalayas – and other important geographic features on the globe – high-minded discussions of geopolitics tend to focus on demographics and economics. Newspapers and history books may persuade you that wars and other conflicts pivot around religion, race or money. Such discussions generally all but forget the relevant physical terrain – oceans, mountains, deserts and rivers – as a force shaping human society.

Technology has shrunk the world in important ways. A US plane can fly a bombing run from the American Midwest to the Middle East without stopping to refuel. Yet nature remains more powerful than armies. In 2001, US forces had started a bombardment of the Taliban and al-Qaeda when a sandstorm blanketed Afghanistan. The Americans ...

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    V. M. 3 years ago
    I do not quite agree with the author before looking for a straw in someone else's eyes it's better to remove the beam from my eyes