Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About Global Politics – Tim Marshall

Prisoners of Geography is the book I am going to be recommending to every single person over the next couple of months. It is a book that covers every single confusing aspect of modern global politics, and has been updated recently to include the changes in the political landscape. Marshall does not have the space to explain everything in detail, however he is able to give a succinct outline of the key issues in every part of the world. In 10 chapters he covers the politics of every key political regions of the world, including; the Middle East, Korea, Europe, and the Arctic. Despite being a short work this packs a punch. I feel far more comfortable talking about some of the political issues that are discussed in this book now, especially as Marshall writes about them in such an accessible manner.


Tim Marshall is an excellent journalist, with experience in many fields. In this book he demonstrates all of his skills, especially his understanding of world politics, and his ability to explain complex issues to a less informed audience. His explanations of the history of Palestine and Korea have helped me understand the key points, so now I feel a lot more aware of the issues and feel I can make more informed opinions on the subjects. One of Marshall’s best skills is his ability to keep his impartiality throughout the book, at no point is does he impose an opinion, he merely asks questions for the reader to ponder. By outlining the geographical reasons for countries existing in their current form he shows how some countries have become dominated by one ethnic group or religion. This is especially true when he discusses the Middle East and the dominance of Shia Muslims in one region and the Shi’ite in another.

In no way does Marshall claim that geography is the be all and end all of global politics, but he is certain in his regard that geography does effect politics greatly. Despite being a very politically minded book he does not regularly consider the ideology behind nations and their wish to expand. His concern is more to do with the economic side of politics, as well as the manner in which land can be used by nations to defend themselves, or attack others. I really enjoyed this book, it is extremely interesting and educational, but it also asks many questions. I think it is an important book for anyone who wants to be more informed in the world of today, especially in an age of uncertainty.


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