NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this provocative, startling book, Robert D. Kaplan, the bestselling author of Monsoon and Balkan Ghosts, offers a revelatory new prism through which to view global upheavals and to understand what lies ahead for continents and countries around the world.
Bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the recent 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. He 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, a visionary glimpse into a future that can be understood only in the context of temperature, land allotment, and other physical certainties. 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.
Praise for The Revenge of Geography
“[An] ambitious and challenging new book . . . [The Revenge of Geography] displays a formidable grasp of contemporary world politics and serves as a powerful reminder that it has been the planet’s geophysical configurations, as much as the flow of competing religions and ideologies, that have shaped human conflicts, past and present.”—Malise Ruthven, The New York Review of Books
“Robert D. Kaplan, the world-traveling reporter and intellectual whose fourteen books constitute a bedrock of penetrating exposition and analysis on the post-Cold War world . . . strips away much of the cant that suffuses public discourse these days on global developments and gets to a fundamental reality: that geography remains today, as it has been throughout history, one of the most powerful drivers of world events.”—The National Interest
“Kaplan plunges into a planetary review that is often thrilling in its sheer scale . . . encyclopedic.”—The New Yorker
“[The Revenge of Geography] serves the facts straight up. . . . Kaplan’s realism and willingness to face hard facts make The Revenge of Geography a valuable antidote to the feel-good manifestoes that often masquerade as strategic thought.”—The Daily Beast
Geography is destiny, sort of, according to this overwrought map exercise. Journalist Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts) unearths and updates musty Edwardian treatises on the strategic importance of the Eurasian "Heartland" (roughly, the Soviet empire) and the surrounding "Rimland" of Europe, the Middle East, India, and China. His survey of these regions, strewn with diverting but feckless snippets of history, cultural lore, and economics, yields a "geographical" analysis that's mainly a jumble of empty rotational metaphors; we learn that North Korea is "the true pivot of East Asia," that "India is the global pivot state of the 21st century," that Afghanistan could become "the hub... of Eurasia in general," and that "the Iranian pivot" is "the Middle East's very own universal joint." Disputing blithe world-is-flat neoliberalism, Kaplan's pitiless "realism" asserts that, as in ages past, geography will spawn territorial conflict, but he has no insights into who will fight where or why, just Malthusian pessimism, banal prognostications China's growing navy will rub against America's and India's and vague geostrategic musings. ("Turkey," he pronounces, "...along with Iran, has the capacity to neutralize the Arab Fertile Crescent.") The result is an unconvincing reprise of an obsolete worldview.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great gets better when you get to second half
Love the book now that I am well into the second half where Kaplan discusses various significant countries and breaks down their history and current status
Poorly organized and repetitive
A disappointing read, almost painful at times, and a missed opportunity. There is useful content here but it is poorly organized. The book reads like a series of rambling lectures. The text is verbose and repetitive; brace yourself for frequent appearances of the phrases, ‘as noted’, ‘as we have seen’, and ‘as I have explained’. Was there no editor for ‘Revenge’? And forget about using this book as a reference text for there is no index.
Much space is given over to describing national and geographic features since fewer than 10 maps are included, one of which is a map of the Persian empire in 500 BCE. And the book is mis-titled: it should have been called ‘The Revenge of Geography and History: What History and the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate’ since lengthy portions are given over to historical precedents dating back millennia. I was looking for a useful text on contemporary geopolitical trends but I am still looking. Kaplan's is not the one.
The revenge of geography