The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Globalization is here, and it's not how we pictured it. De Blij is a great tour guide to particular and actual powers of place that determine the relationships to globalization each community makes. Providing depth, and yes roughness, to many of the more reductive books on the subject to date, de Blij takes on Thomas Friedman's "flatness" and Jared Diamond's factors leading to failed states, among others, presenting more nuanced and complex takes on the geographic distribution of power, affluence, education, health, and risk. The evolving social world is made up of "globals, locals, and mobals." To get a richer sense of the rough terrain the majority of the world's population inhabits, and the physical and cultural landscapes they create and are created by, this accessible, intelligent, and well-researched book is a good place to start. -- John Evans

— From November 2010


The world is not as mobile or as interconnected as we like to think. As Harm de Blij argues in The Power of Place, in crucial ways--from the uneven distribution of natural resources to the unequal availability of opportunity--geography continues to hold billions of people in its grip. We are all born into natural and cultural environments that shape what we become, individually and collectively. From our "mother tongue" to our father's faith, from medical risks to natural hazards, where we start our journey has much to do with our destiny. Hundreds of millions of farmers in the river basins of Asia and Africa, and tens of millions of shepherds in isolated mountain valleys from the Andes to Kashmir, all live their lives much as their distant ancestors did, remote from the forces of globalization. Incorporating a series of persuasive maps, De Blij describes the tremendously varied environments across the planet and shows how migrations between them are comparatively rare. De Blij also looks at the ways we are redefining place so as to make its power even more potent than it has been, with troubling implications.

About the Author

Harm de Blij is the John A. Hannah Professor of Geography at Michigan State University. The author of 30 books, including Why Geography Matters, he is an honorary life member of the National Geographic Society and was previously the Geography Editor on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Product Details
ISBN: 9780199754328
ISBN-10: 0199754322
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: September 16th, 2010
Pages: 280
Language: English