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Publisher's Summary

A major new book by New York Times best-selling author and geopolitical forecaster George Friedman (The Next 100 Years, The Next Decade) with a bold thesis about coming conflict in the world, this provocative work examines the geopolitical flashpoints - particularly in Europe - in which imminent future conflicts are brewing.

George Friedman has forecasted the coming trends (politics, technology, population, and culture) of the next century in The Next 100 Years, and focused his predictions on the coming ten years in The Next Decade. Now, in Flashpoints, Friedman zooms in on the region that has, for 500 years, been the cultural hotbed of the world - Europe - and examines the most basic and fascinating building block of the region: culture. Analyzing the fault lines that have existed for centuries - and which have led to two world wars and dozens more conflicts - Friedman walks us through the "flashpoints" that are still smoldering beneath the surface and are on course to erupt again.

In Flashpoints, George Friedman begins with a fascinating history of the events leading up to the horrific wars that nearly tore apart Western civilization - killing over 100 million people on the "civilized" European continent. Modern-day Europe, and the formation of the European Union, were designed to minimize the built-in geopolitical tensions that led to catastrophic war, but as Friedman shows with a mix of history and cultural analysis, those plans have failed. "Flashpoints" are now simmering as dangerously as in the early twentieth century. Zeroing in on half a dozen locations, borderlands, and cultural dynamics, George Friedman does what few historians can - he explains precisely how certain trends are unstoppable, and what the future holds... both in terms of conflict and also opportunity. Flashpoints also explains in riveting detail how events in Europe will affect the rest of the world.

©2015 George Friedman (P)2015 Random House Audio

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 02-21-15

Important Reading: Old Grievances Do Not Go Away

This is an important book for anyone interested in contemporary geopolitics. Friedman takes us on a quick tour of European history which focuses on the rise of Germany three times: As an economic and military power leading to World War I, as a military power under Hitler, and as the greatest post-war economic power. Now being a rich, but militarily weak, country, Friedman explains the many challenges that Germany faces for itself, and that it creates for the rest of Europe. His discussion also chronicles the reemergence of Russia, and its need to move its "buffer" to the west, having been re-positioned far to the east after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Friedman also weighs in on the enigma of France and how it is neither really a northern European economic power or a weak southern European country, but a curious mixture of both. And, of course, Great Britain's role is analyzed. No longer a world power, Britain needs Europe and keeps a watchful eye on it, but does not really want to commit to the European Union. Friedman's most incisive discussion, however, involves borderlands across the quilt of many nations that form Europe. Some borderlands are peaceful and will likely remain that way, while others--most notably Ukraine--form the flashpoint for future conflicts. Friedman's main point is that the contention that the European Union ushered in an age of prosperity for all that made conflict and war a thing of the past is simply not true. Very thought provoking. I may listen again.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Some great insights waterlogged by baseless speculation

Some great insights in this book, but George makes a number of leaps to baseless conclusions. He tries to fill the gaps with personal anecdote but this fails to prop up a chicken little argument. In the end you feel like you've had a long conversation with your smart but a little bit melodramatic uncle.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Must better than what I expected

Any additional comments?

The thoroughness of the writer's dig into history was impressive. I learned so much from this book and yearn to determine what else he wrote that comes close to this book in terms of quality and interest.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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very interesting & informative!

I had hesitations initially about being bored. did not happen! very informative and very interesting. highly recommend to any American looking for insight into European history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Most important book I've ever read.

Should be read in high school and in adult book clubs. It explains how the world got where it now is.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Henrik
  • Oslo, Norway
  • 06-13-15

Razor sharp insights into European politics

A mix of anecdotes and stark history lessons. Going through the individual borderlands of Europe, Friedman provides some interesting insight at every turn and twist. He makes the actions and considerations of politicians seem more rational, given the historical context and demographic they are operating in. Recommended to all european politicians.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DS
  • 02-05-15

SERIOUSLY GOOD READ

From day one the Euro was a deeply flawed currency (one currency with 13+ different fiscal policies.... really?) and the financial crisis of 2008-9, and Europe's inability to cope with differing needs, led to +25% unemployment in the weaker economies, which is resulting in the rise of far right political parties and..... George Friedman and his company Stratfor have been advising multi-national corporations for years and this book is for all of us. Great food for thought. Concise political history, well reasoned speculation on probable political reactions and insightful analysis of social dynamics make this book a must read. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Propaganda for those who love propaganda

This book is one long diatribe about innocent victimized Jews and the big bad mean world who just want to persecute them for no good reason at all. Especially those pesky Germans. This book goes so far as to praise the Rothschild's for creating such a wonderfully successful banking system. I kid you not.

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Excellent read for Intelligence & Policy Analysts

I found this book interesting and informative. If you have questions about future hot spots from a policy or intelligence perspective this is a good place to start your background reading. I highly recommend this for those who are interested in knowledge of international politics and government.

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Good narration!

good narration, narrator is good and clear. a good history recap. Give a clear picture.

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  • Anthony M
  • 05-17-17

Superb

We'll worth listening to. And listening to again. Insightful, sweeping analysis. Helpful background to understanding current geopolitical events. Will now be following up with other books by the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • 03-21-16

GeoPolitical

An excellent book on the past, present and future geopolitical challenges Europe faces.

If you have a growing interest in this topic, then this is the book. The issues are not sensationalised, rather, a solid case for future outcomes explored.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J. C. Ward
  • 07-20-15

Interesting primer on the Geopolitics of Europe

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a book for those who are interested in European politics. It is not necessarily about the European Union but it exposes many of the absurdities of the Union

What other book might you compare Flashpoints to, and why?

George Friedman's other books; particularly The Next 10 Years and (to a lesser extent) The Next 100 Years are worthwhile also to gain an idea of the wider world. The Next Ten Years was written 5 years ago now so we are half way through the period in question. Nevertheless , it makes sense and gives a better understanding of why things happen. One example is that Friedman (remember written in 2010) argues that it makes a lot of sense for Russia to be more assertive on it's European border nations and goes as far to predict that, sometime mid-decade, Russia will assert its will on Ukraine. Not all parts as prescient but the background and the arguments used are clear and logical

Which character – as performed by George Friedman and Bruce Turk – was your favourite?

The start of the book is read by George Friedman himself and describes his personal connection to Europe. It is interesting and, whilst not a natural performer, engaging because of the personal element. Bruce Turk is an excellent reader.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This book was too long for a single listen.

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  • Mohammad JAAFAR
  • 02-09-15

Simply superb

Rich, enlightening, impeccably written, thoughtful, insightful, Friedman's analysis flows naturally, logically, seamlessly and tells Europe's story like it's never been told before. A must read for every head of state.

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  • Gharper
  • 02-09-15

A tour of European geopolitics

Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history and future of Europe. The introduction, read by the author, explaining the history of his family was particularly interesting. The narration is nice and clean though not desperately engrossing. It would have been better if read in full by the author. Overall this has really improved my understanding of the relationships between EU countries, Russia and the rest of the world and includes some ideas that the author has about the future of these regions.

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  • DaniOcean
  • 02-03-15

Not as profound, but very educational

This book is not as profound as Friedman's previous titles, but it shines an interesting light on the situation in Europe. It also gives a interesting historical perspective of the current state of affairs. It's strangely melancholic compared to The Next Decade, but that's expected. While his previous book focused on the rise of the U.S., this one generally describes the fall of Europe.