Prisoners of Geography Summary & Review

Author: Tim Marshall

Prisoners of Geography (2015) by Tim Marshall is a very short and precise guide that discovers the spatial arguments for some of the most important global historical events. It covers Russia, South Asia, Africa, Japan, Korea, Latin America, the United States, Arab Countries, and the Arctic Ocean. Prisoners of Geography summary will shed light on the ways Geography influences the world’s most important decisions.
prisoners of geography summary

Detailed Summary of Prisoners of Geography

While we study history in high school and college, we often forget the importance of geography in understanding historical events. In fact, geography has affected political and global events.

Geography has influenced the decisions of the world’s most popular leaders, such as Putin and Hitler, and dictated some of the most important historical events, such as the Vietnam War, WW-I, WW II, and the Cold War.

Climate, demographics, culture, mountains, river networks, trade, and religion are some geographical factors that affect a country’s decision and fate. While geography is important to why and what happens to a country, we often overlook it.

Prisoners of Geography Summary Key Points

This book aims to provide information on how rivers, mountains, and other natural resources will help shape the nation’s fate. Moreover, it also elaborates on how religion, culture, norms, language, and ethnicity interact with geography. Tim Marshall uses ten regional examples to explain everything about the world.

To know more about this book, let’s dive into the following key points that will explain insightful information about geography and why it is important.

You might also like to read Ignore Everybody Summary.

Why India and China have never Fought except for one Time?

India and China have huge areas, and both have huge populations. They share a very long borderline. They also have contrasting resources, which makes a good reason for one country to invade the other, but surprisingly, they have never fought apart from a battle in 1962 that lasted only for one month.

If you ask the reason for the stability between these two huge countries? While you may guess there is huge and profitable trade going on between them or they have a fruitful and friendly diplomatic relationship, it is none of these two. The answer is simple. Geography.  Between these two countries is the highest mountain range in the world i.e. the Himalayas.

If they had to fight, it would be nearly impossible for the military to cross these mountains with all the supplies they would require to launch a war. There will be minimal to no access to natural minerals or food resources.

The reason Why Vladimir Putin stays up at Nights

In earlier times, every leader of every tribe preferred to seek high ground. If you look at the map of Russia, you will realize it’s quite big. It has eleven time zones, is six million square miles is the largest country in the world.

The bigger the land the harder it becomes to ensure maximum stability and security. While you may argue the country has stable economic resources and political connections at this point, it is still harder to maintain security.

The North European Plain has easy one-way access to the capital of Russia, Moscow.  The rest of northern Europe stands high, just like the Ural mountains, while Russia is flat and thus harder to protect from sudden invasions. The only way to protect Russia is to deploy a 24/7 active and strong army.

The United States is Geographically Strong and Protected

The United States is lucky to have some of the calmest and most nonpredatory neighbors. Then comes the two oceans that are present on either side of the country, enhancing its natural defense.

Also, the residents of the United States can easily get permits to acquire guns making everyone safe on their own. This also reduces the stress on the government that the army always has to protect everyone. If necessary, the citizens can secure themselves to some extent.

The Pearl Harbor attack, 9/11, and Cuban Missiles are the only few issues the United States has faced while the rest of the world is drowning in security issues every single day. Another fact that adds to the stability of the United States is it not being affiliated with or claimed in the name of one religion or a single culture. This saves the United States from wars that can occur based on religion, culture, and ideologies.

Still, We Pay Less Attention to the Geographical Factors. Why?

If we see Geography as a decisive factor that dictates and influences human history, we would not like the outcome. This is because it will suggest that nature is more powerful than humans. It can be an ally or an adversary according to its choice.

However, we can say that although Geography is not the only factor dictating the world’s economy, politics, and fate in general, it is certainly a defining one. Today we see that technology has bent certain rules.

If a country wants to bombard another, it can fly bombs or fire missiles. Still, for large-scale invasions and state security, geography is the key factor.

Prisoners of Geography Quotes

“Technology may seem to overcome the distances between us in both mental and physical space, but it is easy to forget that the land where we live, work, and raise our children is hugely important..” –Tim Marshall

“All great nations spend peacetime preparing for the day war breaks out.” –Tim Marshall

Prisoners of Geography Summary Review

Prisoners of Geography Summary is bound to provide you with a great deal of information on the most powerful states of the world and their landscapes, including Russia, China, and the United States. The book is precise and short and does not bore you for a moment.

The author molds his writing style like he narrates a story to his audience. It is a great book that everyone should read to enhance their knowledge about the world in which we all live.

To Whom I Would Recommend Prisoners of Geography Summary

  • To the geography geeks who want to know more about what makes states liable to threats or secure from wars.
  • The eighteen-year-old thinking of taking Geopolitics as a major in college.
  • And to anyone who wants to appear in any competitive exam on a national or international level.