A Realist Looks To The Future. I’ve read several books in the last few years covering the general real-world end of the world scenarios and/ or projections for the next few decades, and this text is refreshing in just how grounded and real Zeihan’s approach is. There may in fact be squabbles about a particular point here or there, or even Zeihan’s entire general premise, as the only other review on Goodreads at the time I write this points out, but for me the analysis was close enough to be at least one plausible scenario among many that *could* play out – unlike most others I’ve read in this field. Add in the fact that this isn’t a dry academic look, but instead a somewhat humorous and even crass at times real, straightforward analysis… and you’ve got my attention. Note: If you’re a reader that absolutely WILL NOT tolerate f-bombs, even the occasional one… eh, you’re probably gonna wanna skip this one. 😉 Instead, this reads more like you’re sitting at the bar with a few drinks with an absolute expert in his field, and he is going over a very detailed look at what he thinks is coming over the next 10 – 30 years. As a text, it is thus quite remarkable. The *singular* weakness I found in the text that was star deduction worthy was a complete absence of a bibliography, and the frequent use of footnotes without actually noting even when they were happening was a touch irritating, but not additional star deduction worthy. Very much recommended.
Remarkable Look At Often Unnoticed Regions. Marshall’s prior work in this space, Prisoners of Geography, was much lauded and at least a bit derided. Here, well, the exact same approaches and reasonings abound, so whatever you thought of that first text will likely be similar to your feelings about this text, where he analyzes regions that many don’t think of. The Space chapter (the final chapter) actually discusses the real-world power plays that Matthew Mather’s CyberStorm series of fiction books uses to spin some great yet fictional tales around, while other chapters such as that on Ethiopia, the Sahel, Iran, and Australia do remarkable jobs of showing both the history and current issues facing these regions. Truly an enlightening look at global issues, and one that everyone should read more as a “global politics 101” level of information, if for no other reason. Great work, and very much recommended.
Interesting Concepts. Marshall presents an interesting case of geopolitics from a geographical perspective, and while quite a bit of it makes perfect sense, there are also times where he presents an idea as perfectly obvious… when it actually isn’t/ wasn’t. For example, he claims that once America gained access to the Pacific Ocean in the 19th century via the Oregon Territory, it was destined to become a great world power simply because it had direct access to both of the world’s great oceans. If it was so perfectly obvious, why did it take another century or so – for this barely century old nation at the time – to achieve such supremacy? But the cases Marshall does make, he makes many interesting points on that even I had never considered, and I consider myself a fairly learned and analytical person. He also does so with great humor, which makes what could have been a much drier, more academic treatise into a much more enjoyable read. So read this thing. It has some good ideas and you’ll be entertained. Just don’t believe every word it says, and keep a critical eye on all things at all times. Recommended.