The Edge of the Plain: How Borders Make and Break Our World
Blending history, travel and reportage, this is a wide-ranging journey through the history of borders and an examination of their role in shaping our world today.
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Today, there are more borders in the world than ever before in human history.
In this book James Crawford argues that our enduring obsession with borders has brought us to a crisis point: that we are entering the endgame of a process that began thousands of years ago, when we first started dividing up the earth.
Beginning with the earliest known marker which denoted the end of one land and the beginning of the next, Crawford follows the story of borders into our fragile and uncertain future – towards the virtual frontiers of the internet, and the shifting geography of a world beset by climate change. In the process, he travels to many borders old and new: from a melting border high in the glacial landscapes of the Austrian-Italian Alps to the only place on land where Europe and Africa meet; from the artist Banksy’s ‘Walled Off Hotel’ in the conflict-torn West Bank to the Sonoran Desert and the fault lines of the US/Mexico border.
Combining history, travel and reportage, The Edge of the Plain explores how borders have grown and evolved to take control of our landscapes, our memories, our identities and our destinies. As nationalism, climate change, globalisation, technology and mass migration all collide with ever-hardening borders, something has to give. And Crawford asks, is it time to let go of the lines that divide us?
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