I was fortunate to be enrolled into the SocialBookCo reviewer program and was sent Tim Marshall’s Prisoners of Geography to review.
Growing up I was always a devout reader. I loved books, loved collecting books, loved locking myself in my room and allowing my mind to enter new worlds, understand new concepts and live in the life of the characters of my book. Reading is what helped me get through most of my rocky childhood. I usually stuck to science fiction such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Divergent etc. Anything with action, adventure and a bit of suspense.
When I received Prisoners of Geography I was super excited as I didn’t really know a thing about geopolitics. Tim Marshall did not disappoint. The book begins with a super power that every person on this planet has heard of before, a place where power and principles stand true today as they have in the past, Russia.
My opinion of Russia and the culture and territory have changed in my 20s I must say the book has made me think extra hard of the plight Russia now faces. With its barren land, decline in population growth and restrictions from the other super powers of the world, the book made me feel a bit of concern and sincerity for Russia. By reading Prisoners of Geography, it sparked an interest to learn more and to research into what Tim Marshall describes as “six million square miles vast, eleven time zones vast; it is the largest country in the world”. Marshall begins each chapter by outlining the geographical barriers that influence the politics of the continent, the demographics and culture. He begins with the major bodies of water that help with foreign trade and go on to talk about deserts, mountains, plains, etc. Anything that affects the relationships of the country and its neighbors. He begins with Russia, which in my opinion was brilliant as Russia is so vast yet people such as myself from North America know very little. We know what history books have taught us and we know of the European countries as travel destinations but we don’t necessarily pay attention to the geopolitics of the countries and how it affects the country in which we live and their relationships. When we ask why it’s so hard to get visa’s, why oil prices fluctuate, why it’s cheaper to go to some places and not to others or why people are migrating it has to do in some sense with geopolitics and political ties that countries have made in the past. Marshall goes on to outline these very barriers and political outcomes for places such as China, United States of America, Western Europe and many others.
The chapter that really peaked an interest, not that all of them didn't as each were enlightening in their own way but the chapter on Africa. Africa is a place in constant need yet sometimes we are not enlightened to why it has become the place we know today. Tim Marshall outlines the geographical barriers that Africa faces, the fight against diseases, the lack of medical information and supplies, the malnutrition and plight of about 75 million people and the ever existing internal wars that happen daily. Reading Prisoners of Geography has opened my eyes to each people's plights and fears and has provided me with an understanding of how much geography plays in the politics, cultures, immigration and safety of our planet.
I did not expect much from Prisoners of Geography but I must say it has sparked a hunger for more information regarding geopolitics and has enticed me to research and learn more. That is what a great book does for its reader. It encompasses learning, the love for reading and affects the reader's’ feeling in some way.
I appreciate SocialBookCo for sending me this book to review as I probably would have gone into a bookstore or seen this book on Amazon and not taken the chance on it. I am so glad I did through Social Books as now I am on a journey for more information, intrigued at the politics that will shape the world for our children and their children. I should’ve paid closer attention to geography class in high school, never knew it could be so interesting.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, you do not have to love geography or politics, but have the love for reading. This is definitely a great read and will spark an interest in history and political chess in which there is no definitive lines of the chessboard but instead mountains, bodies of water, deserts and forests.