The Ends of the Earth: A Journey at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Centuryby Robert D. Kaplan
The bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts takes readers on a journey through troubled regions where age-old cultural rivalries threaten to reshape the world of tomorrow. From West Africa to the fundamentalist enclaves of Egypt and Iran to the culturally explosive lands of Central Asia, the people who will remake our world tomorrow are profiled. See more details below
The bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts takes readers on a journey through troubled regions where age-old cultural rivalries threaten to reshape the world of tomorrow. From West Africa to the fundamentalist enclaves of Egypt and Iran to the culturally explosive lands of Central Asia, the people who will remake our world tomorrow are profiled.
You have to hand it to Kaplan. He travels light, he travels dirty, and he goes to places that most travelers would thankfully avoid. He has also done his homework and has a useful frame of reference in which to fit his experiences and observations. Many are valuable. His comments on West Africa evoked wide discussion when they appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. In assessing the value of a diplomat's optimism about Africa, he asks drily, "How did he arrive at the airport?"a reference to the crime, bribery, and anarchy often associated with mere arrival in Africa, but which high-level diplomats usually avoid. In considering levels of crime in various poor and overcrowded cities, he punctures easy explanations based on cultural factors by comparing similarly horrendous crime rates in Cambodia and Sierra Leone (he had believed that crime rates would be lower in Cambodia, with its ancient civilizations based in written language). Contrary to expectations, in Iran he notes how the country and its culture "appeared minimally affected fifteen years after the revolution." He contrasts the attention given to AIDS with that given to the 100200 million people who contract malaria every year and the 2.5 million people who die annually of the disease. His most enduring impression is of the weakening of state structures throughout the area and the growing strength of ethnic and religious identity.
He covers a much wider area than he did in his more valuable Balkan Ghosts, and his expectations about finding general paradigms are disappointed. Nor are his efforts to make his discoveries relevant to the US very convincing. But for sheer entertainment, vigor, sharp observation, and thoughtful comparison, Kaplan takes a lot of beating.
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 6.52(w) x 9.53(h) x 1.64(d)
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