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Publisher's Summary

Maps have a mysterious hold over us. Whether ancient, crumbling parchments or generated by Google, maps tell us things we want to know, not only about our current location or where we are going but about the world in general. And yet, when it comes to geo-politics, much of what we are told is generated by analysts and other experts who have neglected to refer to a map of the place in question.

All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. In this audiobook, now updated to include 2016 geopolitical developments, journalist Tim Marshall examines Russia, China, the US, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Greenland and the Arctic - their weather, seas, mountains, rivers, deserts, and borders - to provide a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders.

Marshall explains the complex geo-political strategies that shape the globe. Why is Putin so obsessed with Crimea? Why was the US destined to become a global superpower? Why does China's power base continue to expand? Why is Tibet destined to lose its autonomy? Why will Europe never be united? The answers are geographical.

©2015 Tim Marshall (P)2016 Audiobooks.com Publishing

What the critics say

"In an ever more complex, chaotic, and interlinked world, Prisoners of Geography is a concise and useful primer on geopolitics." ( Newsweek)

What listeners say about Prisoners of Geography

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Highly recommended!

Very well written. Brings to light many interesting facts and observations.
Other reviews mention that there is no pdf accompanying the audiobook. Just use Google Earth to follow along. Viewing the world as a globe rather than 2D will emphasize many of the points made in the book (ie. Africa is much bigger than shown on 2D maps).

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Excellent.

A great review of why different paoples and states are the way they are and behave to way they do.

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Political proselytizing in the guise of geography

this is just an author finding a way to rant about how great the US is and how the rest of the world is weak and powerless. Geography has 5% to do with this book, and it's 10% history. most of it is baseless commentary on current politics with lazy tropes such as North Korea bad, China bad, poor Asia and Latin America will never solve their strife, USA big strong and good. Some laugh out loud moments ensue when he belittles countries, for example saying India only cares about hating Pakistan and cricket. for all that, i learned some things like the importance of the Strait of Malaka. but I get the sense Marshall wanted to write a smug book about global politics and how he is so smartly able to identify the problems, but his editors made him take a novel approach by putting geography in the title. the geography is so forced, and the author offers no solutions, so it really is just him ranting about how dumb non American countries are. BRIC will always fail, he says in a throwaway statement with no backing, the EU will never work, the rest of the world NEEDS America because without them they'll fall apart, all with the undertones of Big Oil Good, even getting super excited about how the melting Arctic means more resources to mine, yay! the topic has such potential but he waves it all away, taking only macro looks at, for example, the entirety of South and Central America in one chapter despite their massive geographical differences. no nuance, heavy on political proselytizing, and lazy analysis. very disappointing.

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good informative and accurate

good informative and accurate, but would have been nice to have maps attached to like in a PDF version or something

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Awesome book

I really enjoyed this book to the fullest. Really interesting to see how geography has been so influential in shaping countries. It also provides you with a better understanding about foreign policies.

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  • Jeff T. Miller
  • 2020-03-12

Where are the maps?

Great book - I love the description of the land features. But come on... where is the PDF for the maps?

320 people found this helpful

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  • Sherry
  • 2017-06-19

It's a Book about Maps! Please provide the Maps!

Loved this book but, come on! It's a book about TEN MAPS THAT EXPLAIN EVERYTHING ABOUT THE WORLD! I paid for the book. I paid for the maps. Please include a PDF of the maps!!!!!

498 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2016-12-21

Great Narrator

I wish I could go back and reduce my prior performance ratings to make this one more valuable. Scott Brick's quietly dramatic, slightly sinister tone made what would have been a simply fine nonfiction into a captivating listen. Highly engaging content as well.

92 people found this helpful

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  • MP
  • 2017-02-18

Narration made all the material tantalizing

I like the book, the material, but I think the star here was the narrator. I kept wishing I could narrate like Scott Brick did with this book.

Most of the material was generally familiar to me and yet I found the specifics kind of mesmerizing. I think it was in very large part to the narrator's delivery - brilliant!

68 people found this helpful

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  • Anon
  • 2017-08-01

Good overview

Enjoyed the book. The performance was quite good for nonfiction.

As you might expect this book takes a very deterministic view of history and a strong knowledge of geography is required before listening to a book about maps. If you're familiar with current geopolitics this book will fill out your knowledge. If you're new to the topic there will be a barrage of historical context and interplay between regional powers.

If you think the title sounds interesting and you enjoy understanding geopolitics you'll enjoy this book. I suspect the book won't be very useful in 5+ years though. Consider a different title if reading this review in 2020 or beyond.

28 people found this helpful

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  • Raleigh
  • 2017-01-05

TERRAIN AS DESTINY


? do the murky motives and actions of foreign countries interest you
? is it reasonable to think that where you live affects how you behave
? are there careless historic choices whose consequences reverberate for centuries

tim marshall has written a great book, in hopes of answering those questions
his journalist career took him to many of the world's war zones and hotspots
the hard lessons he learned there inform his view of geography's consequences

as you'd expect, the territories of china, india and russia are featured prominently
but the geographic limitations of africa and south america were also well discussed
the middle east chapters were more than insightful in making sense of that region

the book was most helpful in understanding other nation's stubborn and fearful behavior
their conduct seems more reasonable once history and topography are considered
marshall's book is a valuable lens with which to view our increasingly complex world



51 people found this helpful

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  • Joanna DeSa
  • 2017-08-01

Extraordinary

If ever you wondered what difference a mountain range, a tropical rainforest, a wide expanse of desert, or a river wide and deep enough for transport could make on a Nation and its "life, this is your book. Wonderfully narrated, with some level of forecasting that, given today's current state of political nationalism, and/or isolationism, causes one to pause, and think about the world's future, and one's place in it.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Zinedine
  • 2017-02-16

Looking at the world in Lee Kwan Yew's eyes.

Loved the Book.Very Informative.
The narrator's voice was epic! You will love this audible book.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Wolfgang
  • 2017-01-24

Different look at politics

Where does Prisoners of Geography rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

For non-fiction, in the top 10%.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Non-fiction. The explanation of Russian behavior based on Russia's geography was the most revealing.

Which scene was your favorite?

The description of America's great geographic fortune was an eye-opener. Rivers, oceans, farmland, minerals

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me think about countries in a new way, and it made me get out my atlas.

Any additional comments?

Excellent length for the lay reader. 200 pages or so. I get discouraged by the 600+ non-fiction tomes.

27 people found this helpful

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  • stuart
  • 2017-03-17

Food for thought

Thank you Tim for a book that helped me look outside the box. I am an African and though I think you handled the subject well . I do think that you were kind to Africa not drawing too much attention to the amount of corruption and nepotism that will hold back progress in this vast and beautiful continent. Africa needs desperately to utilise it's own mineral wealth instead of exporting it. South Africa is a country with great potential but stagnating with a poor growth because of poor leadership .Where .. oh ..where will we end up ?

35 people found this helpful