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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.
This textbook is a unique and timely response to current thinking on globalization from geography's preeminent spokesman. It is clear straightforward writing filled with modern examples and a highly promotable, engaging author.
"A tour-de-force, a fascinating and deeply knowledgeable account of the crucial ways in which 'place,' the Earth's physical geography, shapes global society.... The Power of Place is a treat for the specialist and a thrilling eye-opener for the general reader." --Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
"Should be set upon the desks of every legislator, policy wonk and concerned citizen." -- Chicago Sun-Times
"Mr. de Blij's vast reach and steady even-handedness make The Power of Place an enjoyable, intellectual stroll." -- The New York Sun
"Informative and provocative...made all the richer by his inspired use of maps. Substantive and smart." -- ShelfAwareness.com
Books such as The Earth is Flat have argued enthusiastically that globalization brings opportunities to the world's poorest peoples. Not so, contends Harm de Blij. Accidents of geography continue to hold billions of people in an unrelenting grip. We are all born into natural and cultural environments that shape what we become, individually and collectively
Harm J. de Blij is a geographer. He is a former geography editor on ABC's Good Morning America. He is a former editor of National Geographic magazine and the author of several books, including Why Geography Matters.