The Ends of the Earth: From Togo to Turkmenistan, from Iran to Cambodia, a Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy

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Vintage Books, 1997 - History - 476 pages
5 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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tabascofromgudreads - LibraryThing

Extremely interesting travel book, with a lot of historical insight. A bit shallow at times, and with a clear agenda of US national interest and geopolitics, but overall a great read. Read full review

THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: A Journey at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century

User Review  - Kirkus

A ``brief romp'' through West Africa, Egypt, Iran, Central Asia, western China, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, and Cambodia by Atlantic Monthly contributing editor Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts, 1993, etc.). You ... Read full review

Contents

An Unsentimental Journey
21
From Graham Greene to Thomas Malthus?
32
Along the Gulf of Guinea
70
The Hollow Pyramid
89
Islamic Coketown
101
Voices of the Tormented City
119
Mother Lode
142
By Caspian Shores
163
Clean Toilets and the Legacy of Empires
273
SuperChaos and PhysicalSocial Theory
290
Strategic Hippie Routes
302
The Roof of the World
312
The Last Map
325
The Way of the Future?
339
Journey in a Plague Year
341
Rishi Valley and Human Ingenuity
354

The Earths Soft Centre
173
1o A Country of Flowers and Nightingales
175
The Revolution of the Hand
188
Bazaar States
199
Qoms Last Tremors
215
The Heart of Persia
225
The Tower of Qabus
237
Geographical Destinies
243
Russian Outpost
245
PreByzantine Turks and Civilization Clashes
256
Environmental and Sexual Limits
369
Laos or Greater Siam?
390
Back to Sierra Leone?
401
Jungle Temples and the Milk of Chaos
421
One Death at the Edge of the Earth
429
Acknowledgments
439
Bibliography
443
Index
461
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Robert D. Kaplan is chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm, and the author of fourteen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate; Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power; Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History; and Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos. He has been a foreign correspondent for The Atlantic for more than a quarter-century. In 2011 and 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Kaplan among the world's “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”

From 2009 to 2011, he served under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as a member of the Defense Policy Board. Since 2008, he has been a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Class of 1960 Distinguished Visiting Professor in National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.

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