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geographyPrisoners of Geography
Tim Marshall
Elliot & Thompson Ltd

This was an impulse buy, largely based on its prominent display in my local Waterstones.

I hated geography at school, but this is mostly because it was taught in a smelly mobile classroom, by a scruffy teacher we nicknamed Mr Ball-scratcher, because he seemingly found it impossible to get through a lesson without handling his bollocks.  He would spend much of his time in the stationery cupboard (most probably masturbating, we conjectured) having set us a boring essay to write on the topic of rice farming in Burma.

We hardly ever looked at maps – and, although I detested geography, or so I thought, I have always loved looking at maps.

I’m only on chapter two of this book, but already I want to recommend it to everyone who isn’t already an expert on geo-politics and military history.  If you find the current proxy war in Syria confusing, or don’t understand all the military posturing in Eastern Europe by Nato allies, then this will open your eyes.

We are sold by the media, the idea that all wars are fought on the basis of ideology or religion.  For some reason, this is what they would prefer you to believe.  However, it seems to me, from reading this book, that most wars are about territory.  They are, and have always been, about protecting your country’s economic and strategic interests.

Suddenly, the world is a less confusing place for me.  To misquote Jessie J, “it’s all about the money, money, money”.  Well, you know – the gas pipelines and cheap oil.  Same thing, really.

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