Cartography – Mountains, Land, River – Politics

Cartography - Mountains, Land, River - Politics

Sometimes seeing the world through different glasses is enough. Or rather, it helps, as advised by the French writer Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922): “The true journey of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing them with new eyes.” English TV journalist Tim Marshall has also noticed this and has taken a closer look at it during his many foreign trips. Along the way, he observed that the Himalayan ranges between China and India, rivers like the Nile, vast plains or deserts like the Sahara had a major influence on political life. He described the relationship in detail in a 2015 bestseller in Germany under the title “The Power of Geography”.

Single source of error for the global system: the container ship “Ever Given” blocked the Suez Canal and world trade with it in March.

(Photo: AP)

This filled a void in the book trade, as there was hardly any literature on geopolitics written in popular science in this country until now. In addition, the subtitle on the cover promised readers a quick and clear overview of the global illusion: “How World Politics Can Be Explained Using 10 Maps”. And now, as is often the case in cinema, a successful first is followed by a second. Tim Marshall’s recently published sequel in book format is called: “The Power of Geography in the 21st Century. 10 Maps Explain Today’s Politics and Future Crises”.

“Geography Determines What Man Can Achieve”

This is an extension of the first volume, which is also divided into ten chapters. It begins with country pictures of Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, followed by some about Greece, Turkey and the Sahel, Ethiopia and Spain, and finally takes an informative look into space. The author uses examples to illustrate his thesis: “Geography is a deciding factor because it determines what people can and cannot achieve. Yes, politicians are important, but geography is even more important. People.” Those that make decisions cannot be completely isolated. The geophysical environment either now or in the future.”

Let us look at the Greece chapter as an example. Tim Marshall first named two scenic features that are important to him in understanding the political events in Hell: the many mountains and the sea with its 6000 islands. To them, this explains the “fragmentation of the country” and the distrust of various regions towards Athens from the days of the ancient historian Thucydides. He mentions this connection repeatedly, but in the ongoing text he goes into more detail on the stages of Greek history. In doing so, he ties together mythological and historical events in a narrative way: from Zeus, the father of the gods, to the current dispute with Turkey over natural gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean on Mount Olympus. His interest in social aspects is less, geopolitics and historical facts dominate. Incidentally, it is similar in other country paintings.

Separatists in Bavaria? yes it does with marshal

Cartography: Tim Marshall: The Power of Geography in the 21st Century.  10 cards explain today's politics and future crises.  From English by Lutz-W.  Wolfe.  DTV, Munich 2021.  412 pages, 24 euros.

Tim Marshall: The Power of Geography in the 21st Century. 10 cards explain today’s politics and future crises. From English by Lutz-W. Wolfe. DTV, Munich 2021. 412 pages, 24 euros.

On the contrary, it is not a dry read. Some lines look good in translation too very british. Tim Marshall can clearly formulate, even become a poet of tabloid journalism when he writes, for example: “Ethiopians are dealing with null” (meaning Neil ); And a few pages further you can read that Ethiopia can “open the bars of its geographical imprisonment”. The author also does not shy away from political gossip. In the chapter on Spain he reports on the daughter of Generalissimo Franco; A clumsy party friend accidentally shot him in the butt while hunting. His shortest comment (actually on the current situation in Great Britain) should be quoted: “Ouch!”

off course not Happy We, on the other hand, are among ten cards that, according to the title page, are meant to explain “the politics of today and the crisis of the future.” There are double pages with sketch views of the respective countries: rather blank and gray in color. Each map sheet in the Diercke World Atlas or Putzger’s Historical World Atlas provides more and more colorful guidance. Lastly, there are a few small thematic maps scattered throughout the book. One of them shows, for example, where separatists often appear in Europe. The short printed names of deeply marked regions such as Catalonia, Scotland or Bavaria are difficult to decipher. Yes, indeed Bavaria is mentioned. Even without glasses, you can see a large black spot colored by cartography in Germany, as many separatists are believed to be active here.

Werner Hornung Political books and cartographic literature have been discussed for more than fifty years.

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