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A History of the World in 47 Borders

On sale

25th April 2024

Price: £25

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472298508

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‘Fascinating and hugely entertaining’ MARINA HYDE

‘By turns surprising, funny, bleak, ridiculous, or all four of those at once’ GIDEON DEFOE

People have been drawing lines on maps for as long as there have been maps to draw on. Sometimes rooted in physical geography, sometimes entirely arbitrary, these lines might often have looked very different if a war or treaty or the decisions of a handful of tired Europeans had gone a different way. By telling the stories of these borders, we can learn a lot about how political identities are shaped, why the world looks the way it does – and about human folly.

From the Roman attempts to define the boundaries of civilisation, to the secret British-French agreement to carve up the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, to the reason why landlocked Bolivia still maintains a navy, this is a fascinating, witty and surprising look at the history of the world told through its borders.

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Reviews

MARINA HYDE
Totally fascinating and hugely entertaining. This book is a nerd's paradise without borders - but with jokes. Jonn Elledge has such a gift for looking at complicated bits of the world, then telling you all about them in a way that feels not like a textbook, but like an incredibly fun and interesting conversation in the pub.
GIDEON DEFOE
By turns surprising, funny, bleak, ridiculous, or all four of those at once, A History Of The World In 47 Bordersunknots some of the weird historical and geographical tangles we've managed to get ourselves into. And it's timely too, if only because our preoccupation with drawing lines never seems to abate.
MIRANDA SAWYER
Somehow, Jonn Elledge turns geo-political history into a funny, fascinating and revealing insight not only into the world today but into the frailty and determination of the human spirit. Packed with "I never knew that" information (the sort that you read out to anyone in the room with you), A History Of The World In 47 Bordersshows us that history doesn't repeat itself, but it plays out in weird ways right under our noses. He's such a lovely writer. A delight from start to finish.
STEPHEN BUSH
A brilliant account of how these lines on a map shape lives, destinies and economies. You'll never look at a map in the same way again.
PATRICK MAGUIRE
The last decade in global politics is a reminder that history never moves in a straight line - but that hasn't ever stopped politicians and powerbrokers from trying to draw them on the maps that hang on the walls of our classrooms and corridors of power. This addictive book from the ever curious Jonn Elledge proves that and then some. Full of stories you thought you understood and those even the nerds in your life will never have known, this clever, confounding history will help you see the world from a new angle - if you can ever put it down.
DORIAN LYNSKEY
All borders are artificial and every nation is an invention. Jonn Elledge provides a witty grand tour of the fascinating, disturbing and downright bizarre decisions that made the world what it is today.
ROB HUTTON
This is brilliant fun, explaining the modern world in enjoyably bite-sized chapters. It's exactly the book you hope it will be.

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