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
"A solid work of acuity and breadth." (Kirkus)
My favorite of Kaplan's books, and I've read most of his works. If you want to learn about the world and geopolitics, start here.
For someone interested in geography and geopolitics, this must be of of the best sources. With his method of geographical determinism, Kaplan and his predecessors of the discipline(whom he points to throughout the book),help the reader understand the past and comprehend the future of international engagement.
The final chapter on mexico was quite interesting.
Not deliberately. The meandering waver between monotone and whine is quite irritating in a book as long as this one.
Yes, it made me eager to find better books on geopolitics.
30-something. Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Tribal Government. Local Government. History. Business and Science Fiction, mostly...
I loved this audio book. The content, the performance and the overall feel of the book was eye opening and made me appreciate the slow, inexorable push of geography on History.
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
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
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.
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.
World Champion Parallel Parker
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.
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