Tim Marshall (2021)

A successor to Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics that attempts to do the same thing: to argue that geography constrains the pursuit of politics more than we might realise. It does this, although as a sequel it’s far less impactful than the original, and seems to spend too much time on the historical progression of the chosen countries and not enough on the ways these histories actually manifest the geographical constraints under which they’re constrained. Indeed, some of the countries’ geographies (such as Saudi Arabia’s) seem almost irrelevant compared to their geologies.

The inclusion of “space” as a country is interesting from a political perspective, and Marshall does manage to show that it has a “geography” of sorts – as Robert Heinlein is quoted as saying, once you’re in Earth orbit you’re halfway to anywhere, since getting up the gravity well is the major transport cost. I’m assuming this will be the subject of a later book.

2/5. Finished Friday 20 October, 2023.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)