Sunday, February 13, 2011

Geography Books Read in 2010

While a bit late here's a rundown of geography-related books I read in 2010.  For more recommendations check out my 2009 four great read list and the books section of the blog.

Afghanistan-Pakistan

Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central AsiaDescent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia - Good people make good countries.  Bad people make Pakistan... and Pakistan is a cancer.

Greetings From Afghanistan, Send More Ammo: Dispatches from Taliban CountryGreetings From Afghanistan, Send More Ammo: Dispatches from Taliban Country - One soldier's adventures and cultural observations in Afghanistan.

The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless FrontierThe Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier - A very, very, very detailed book about the Waziristan War.

The Places In Between The Places In Between - Rory Stewart's walking journal of his trip from Herat to Kabul right after the Fall of the Taliban.

The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the TalibanThe Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban - A good book when it discusses corruption in Afghanistan. However, Ms. Chayes is so hell bent against one warlord that she goes on rants while ignoring national government corruption until it is too late.

Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al QaedaSeeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda - Everyone in Afghanistan uses the drug trade and the farmers are their slaves. 

Africa

A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 (New York Review Books Classics)A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 - Wow.  Probably the best book of the year.  Multiple parts show the lost world of the Pied-Noir, French internal politics, and the Algerian War.  No matter how bad Vietnam was for the United States, it never got as bad as Algeria did for the French.

Coffee Table

Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made itLost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made it  - A fun look at proposed states, both fanciful and almost would have beens.  (GT Review)

Eurasia


The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the CaucasusThe Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus - A good introduction for those who want to know more about the pre-liberation days of the Caucasus.  Read it for pre-1989 history.



A Little War That Shook the World: Georgia, Russia and the Future of the WestA Little War That Shook the World: Georgia, Russia and the Future of the West - A brief look at the 2008 Russia-Georgia War and how Russia played Georgia.

Europe

Geography, empire and National Revolution in Vichy France [An article from: Political Geography]Geography, empire and National Revolution in Vichy France [An article from: Political Geography]  - Monarchists, fascists, and neosocialists united struggle to remake the field of geography in Vichy France.



No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945 - A book that does a wonderful job not only taking a new look at the European Front but also showing just how small the Western Front was compared to the Eastern Front. (GT Review)


Geography and Education


Global Perspectives in the Geography Curriculum: Reviewing the Moral Case for GeographyGlobal Perspectives in the Geography Curriculum: Reviewing the Moral Case for Geography - A detailed investigation how in England and the United States geography has been replaced by a "global perspectives" subject which radically differs from true geography. (GT Review and Author Interview)


Latin America

Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern MexicoGeo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico - Want to know more about Mexico?  Read this book. (GT Review)


Middle East

Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi ArabiaInside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia - A look, both past and present, at the machine that is Saudi Arabia.  I read it before I traveled to The Kingdom and was able to make sense out of some things I saw.

Lawrence and the Arabs - The books is one of the first accuarte-ish accounts of T.E. Lawrence's time in Arabia and at the Paris Peace conference.  It ends with a powerful warning about Wahabbis.

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the PresentPower, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present - A long but fascinating read into the long-time relationship between the United States and the Middle East.

Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land since 1948 (Honorable Mention for the Albert Hourani Award, Middle Eastern Studies Association)Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land since 1948 - While not perfect and a bit dry, a good overview of the destruction of the Arab landscape after 1948, the legal battles over property rights, and current sites of tension.

War on Terrorism

The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big OneThe Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One - A comparison of small wars around the world and potential answers to them.

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001  - Looming Tower from the West's perspective.  This book does a good job talking about the geopolitics of the pre-9/11 world's battle in Afghanistan and against al Qaeda.

The IslamistThe Islamist  - A personal look how Islamists try to create a new denomination of Islam, how they act, and why they differ from other forms of Islam.

Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants KillTerror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill  - First half of the book is a great examination into religious violence. Second half can be skipped as it is a "this is how al Qaeda works" book.

World

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the WorldThe Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World - I wonder what he would say about happy "Iceland" now that their money train has stopped.  But an interesting look at happiness in certain parts of the world.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage)Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide -While I don't agree with all the stated solutions, a good read on the current state of women around the world.

Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The TimesLight of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times  - The Pope's look at the world's problems and some potential solutions.

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global ChristianityThe Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity - Liberal theologies beware.  The future is a theologically conservative Catholic and Pentecostal faith that will rip through anything which stands in its way.  The now for all purposes defunct Anglican Communion and the United Methodist Church are feeling this now.

Vanished Ocean: How Tethys Reshaped the WorldVanished Ocean: How Tethys Reshaped the World - Will be properly reviewed when I get back to the states.  A good read into the geology of the forming earth and the giant Tethys Ocean.

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