The world is building walls, and it is building them fast. Half of all border barriers erected since the end of the second world war have been put up in this century and European nations could soon have more miles of fortified barriers than at the height of the cold war. Modern borders are being armed with the latest tech, from drones to incredibly sensitive detectors to make it as hard as possible for people to sneak across. People are getting increasingly hostile towards outsiders. Tribalism, nationalism and religious tensions are rising whilst escalating inequality and growing age gaps exacerbate frictions. In Divided, Tim Marshall takes the reader on a tour of some of the globe’s most conflicted and fractious borders, delving into the reasons driving the fractures.
China, the US, Middle East, Israel and Palestine, India, Africa, Europe and the UK are all put under his spotlight with the rifts being identified and explained. It is a neat blending of history, politics and sociology with a healthy dosage of stats that make it a fascinating read and each issue could, and does, have entire books dedicated to it. In his efforts to cover so many massive topics in Divided, Marshall may have bitten off too much, and at times it feels like an oversimplification of the issues, but as an introduction to such complex problems, it is a great read. Marshall’s gripping storytelling and readable style portray the most important challenges in a coherent manner so that even I could get a basic grip of them.
This is a great book for anyone looking to get an accurate summary of the world’s fissures. It covers some of the key issues in some of the worlds most important and tense areas, providing a wealth of well-conveyed information with a backdrop of history and geopolitics. It is greatly informative, incredibly researched and well analysed, educational on key topics abroad and at home (if you live in one of the areas examined in a chapter).
I snagged a copy if this a year or so back at a book festival and found it a thought-provoking read. I can also recommend one of his other books, “Prisoners of Geography” if you haven’t already read it.