The ends of the earth: a journey at the dawn of the 21st century

Front Cover
Random House, Mar 1, 1996 - Political Science - 476 pages
39 Reviews
In The Ends of the Earth, Robert D. Kaplan travels from the devastated countries of West Africa and the fundamentalist enclaves of Egypt and Iran to the culturally explosive lands of Central Asia, India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia with hardly more than a notebook and a backpack.
Kaplan's intention was to investigate firsthand the effect of population explosion and environmental degradation in these countries and to see how the various cultures he encountered responded to them. But as he traveled, talking to gun smugglers and government ministers, warlords and shantytown dwellers, he discovered that the real problem, in places as far afield as Sierra Leone and western China, was the reemergence of longstanding cultural rivalries and the dissolution of national boundaries as regions redefine themselves along ethnic and historic lines.
Kaplan's ground-level experiences allow him to avoid grandiose generalizations about the clash of civilizations and to replace them with intimate portraits of the men and women he encounters: Rafighdoost, Khomeini's fiercely loyal chauffeur; Ali Abdel Razag, keeper of the Aswan High Dam; and Ayshe Tanrikulu, a squatter on Golden Mountain, a shantytown on the outskirts of Ankara, who hopes that her sons will one day be doctors or engineers. It is in the squalor of daily existence and in people's fears, frustrations, and dreams that Kaplan looks for the key to a country's future.
The Ends of the Earth offers an intimate portrait of the devastated parts of the world, whose cultural disasters - like those in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Rwanda today - will dominate our attention and remake the world of tomorrow.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

He is a brilliant writer. - Goodreads
It is easy to read and very informative - Goodreads
Good insights into those societies. - Goodreads
Great travel and geo-political writing. - Goodreads
Kaplan is a fantastic travel writer. - Goodreads
... but a damn good writer. - Goodreads

Review: The Ends of the Earth: A Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy

User Review  - sharifa - Goodreads

He is a brilliant writer. I was not able to relate so much through his travels through Russia and Asia so this book became a little dry for me, but I did enjoy it. Read full review

Review: The Ends of the Earth: A Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy

User Review  - Chris Thorsrud - Goodreads

Kaplan takes the reader to various corners of the world where different levels of anarchy exist. The book was written over 17 years ago, I wonder how these same places are now. Eye-opening, the book details the dark side of people, human nature, evil and destruction. Should be read by everyone. Read full review


An Unsentimental Journey
From Graham Greene to Thomas Malthus?
Along the Gulf of Guinea

30 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1996)

Robert D. Kaplan is a national correspondent for "The Atlantic Monthly" and the bestselling author of eleven previous books on foreign affairs and travel, including "Balkan Ghosts, The Ends of the Earth, The Coming Anarchy," and "Eastward to Tartary" and most recently "Imperial Grunts," He is currently the Class of 1960 Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Naval Academy. He lives with his wife and son in western Massachusetts.