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The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate | [Robert D. Kaplan]

The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate

In The Revenge of Geography, Robert D. Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the near and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world's hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands.
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Publisher's Summary

In The Revenge of Geography, Robert D. Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the near and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world's hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands. The Russian steppe's pitiless climate and limited vegetation bred hard and cruel men bent on destruction, for example, while Nazi geopoliticians distorted geopolitics entirely, calculating that space on the globe used by the British Empire and the Soviet Union could be swallowed by a greater German homeland.

Kaplan then applies the lessons learned to the present crises in Europe, Russia, China, the Indian subcontinent, Turkey, Iran, and the Arab Middle East. The result is a holistic interpretation of the next cycle of conflict throughout Eurasia. Remarkably, the future can be understood in the context of temperature, land allotment, and other physical certainties: China, able to feed only twenty-three percent of its people from land that is only seven percent arable, has sought energy, minerals, and metals from such brutal regimes as Burma, Iran, and Zimbabwe, putting it in moral conflict with the United States. Afghanistan's porous borders will keep it the principal invasion route into India, and a vital rear base for Pakistan, India's main enemy. Iran will exploit the advantage of being the only country that straddles both energy-producing areas of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Finally, Kaplan posits that the United States might rue engaging in far-flung conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan rather than tending to its direct neighbor Mexico, which is on the verge of becoming a semifailed state due to drug cartel carnage.

A brilliant rebuttal to thinkers who suggest that globalism will trump geography, this indispensable work shows how timeless truths and natural facts can help prevent this century's looming cataclysms.

©2012 Robert D. Kaplan (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A solid work of acuity and breadth." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (212 )
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3.6 (177 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Christopher Lindale, TX, United States 05-16-15
    Christopher Lindale, TX, United States 05-16-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Students of History & Politics must read"

    What an overall awesome view of world history and how a particular landmass can affect the outcome. Great insight on how the past and our geography will affect our future

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 03-16-15
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 03-16-15 Member Since 2013

    Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inside the Geo-Political Think-Tank"

    I recently concluded listening to several books on various elements of world history and this was the best. At first I thought this was too dry for my taste and the narration by Michael Prichard brought to mind the voice-overs of old Cinema news-reels. But after paying attention for several hours I began to track with the writer and discovered that Kaplan is in touch with current academic thought and is able to distill information from a wide variety of sources and relate it in a fashion that is understandable for the layman. Despite the title, this is not an unmitigated defense of geographical determinism. This books does, however, put forth many examples from history of people groups who—for a time—defy the restrictions of topography, in ambitious exploits of martial glory, only to succumb to the inevitable forces of the lands in which they live. For me, this book was a glimpse into the realm of the political experts that advise the movers and shakers of the world. It is useful for those trying to make sense of the ebb and flow of ancient civilizations—and attempt to predict what may transpire in our own time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 01-31-15
    Andrew 01-31-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Thought provoking"

    The book lays a good foundation to consider world events. It is refreshing not to have a partisan or political spin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Östlund 01-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating though overwhelming"

    Certainly interesting and very eloquent, yet rather compact and therefore a bit overwhelming in its presentation of fact, analysis and conjecture. Probably best sampled in smaller bites and with a map in front of you. The story of how geography has and continues to dominate world politics is eye-opening and fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teadrinker Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 01-27-15
    Teadrinker Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 01-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Thought-provoking"

    I'm glad Kaplan's out there doing all the traveling for me. I also appreciate the historical research and analysis. It's very hard to understand what is going on in the world today, but this book helps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 12-31-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 12-31-14 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "GEOGRAPHY OF PEACE"

    In “The Revenge of Geography”, Robert Kaplan recounts the significance of mountain ranges, rivers, deserts, and oceans in the history of regional and world conflicts. Kaplan reviews geographic benefits and challenges to one civilization’s domination of another. He argues that geography remains a relevant factor in hegemonic rule of nation-states, nation-state’ confederacies, and continents. Kaplan is a journalist that has traveled the world. He supported the second invasion of Iraq and, as an imbedded journalist in Fallujah, observed his confessed mistake. Kaplan has visited many, if not all, the countries he refers to in this book.

    There is some sense and, undoubtedly, some nonsense in Kaplan’s predictions but he is better suited by his research, observation, and experience than most geo-political’ commentators. There is much to be thought about and discussed in Kaplan’s interesting assessment of the geography of the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nicoletta 11-12-14
    nicoletta 11-12-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Not Contemporary Enough"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Somebody who wants a generic ride


    What was most disappointing about Robert D. Kaplan’s story?

    He speaks about contemporary political issues, but he pays only lip service to climate and environmental problems that are redefining geography.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Michael Prichard?

    Yes.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Revenge of Geography?

    I would not have cut parts. I would have re-arranged them, and supplemented them with attention to the looming environmental crisis.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SMHEO 10-27-14
    SMHEO 10-27-14
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    "Great concept miserably executed"
    What would have made The Revenge of Geography better?

    The facts of the post World War One remap of the Middle East and elsewhere continue to pain the world with never ending conflicts. The importance of geography in the rational division of territories is an interesting subject worth exploring; if only to dream about the "what ifs." Robert Kaplan's book fails profoundly. Oh sure if your idea of delving into an idea is to listen to the unrelated ramblings of a self impressed college professor, this book will fascinate.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert D. Kaplan again?

    Should a work by Robert Kaplan cross my path I will bless myself and run away screaming warnings to the innocents around me.


    What didn’t you like about Michael Prichard’s performance?

    Michael Prichard's performance suited the book perfectly. His cadence and the quality of his voice were almost as annoying as the material he was presenting.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The idea that geography is an important influence on national boundaries is interesting. I should like to find a book that presents a thoughtful, concise argument.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan United States 12-01-12
    Ryan United States 12-01-12 Member Since 2012

    Life is a journey, enjoy it......because one day it will all end.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't bother"
    Would you try another book from Robert D. Kaplan and/or Michael Prichard?

    No.


    What could Robert D. Kaplan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Wrote it better.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Michael Prichard?

    I would give it a try.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Only bored.


    Any additional comments?

    This sounds like it could be a good book....it's not. I gave it two hours then downloaded another book. Thank you audible for your return policy!

    2 of 10 people found this review helpful

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