Prisoners of Geography Book Summary - Prisoners of Geography Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Prisoners of Geography summary

Tim Marshall

Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics

4.5 (245 ratings)
14 mins
Table of Contents

    Prisoners of Geography
    summarized in 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Russia is an aggressive presence in the Baltics because it fears invasion from the West.

    There’s no denying the fact that Russia is enormous. Covering a sprawling 6 million square miles and containing eleven different time zones, Russia is by far the world’s biggest country.

    So what keeps Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, tossing and turning at night? It’s one particular stretch of land that somewhat resembles a slice of pizza.

    Beginning in Poland, this particular pizza-slice-shaped wedge extends southeast to the foot of the Ural Mountain range, and northeast to Russia’s capital city of Moscow.

    What keeps Putin particularly worried is that this area of land is part of what’s called the North European Plain, which stretches from France across Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Germany, Poland and ends at the Russian Urals. As the name suggests, this area is flat and makes the European gateway to Russia vulnerable and difficult to defend.

    Any country within the North European Plain could conceivably send an army across the flatlands and directly into Moscow. As Putin knows all too well, this is exactly what has happened to Russia throughout its history.

    During both world wars, this is the path the Germans took in their military campaigns. But that’s not all – since 1812, invaders from the Northern European Plain have attacked Russia an average of once every 33 years!

    For generations now, Russia’s strategy for neutralizing the threat from the North European Plain has been to control Poland and all the Baltic states that lie between it and Russia, which include Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Belarus.

    These are the nations that make up the meat of that pizza slice, so to speak. While the wedge stretches 2,000 miles from north to south at its easternmost section, it’s only 300 miles wide around Poland and the Baltic states. If Russia can station a strong defensive front here, it can more easily hold off potential Western invaders.

    Unfortunately, this means the Baltic states are likely to continue having a rough go of it.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Prisoners of Geography?

    Key ideas in Prisoners of Geography

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Prisoners of Geography about?

    Prisoners of Geography (2015) explains how, all over the world, political decision making is greatly influenced by geography. Even choices that may appear arbitrary are in fact driven by the Earth’s mountains, valleys, rivers and seas.

    Best quote from Prisoners of Geography

    The Chinese see Tibet not through the prism of human rights, but that of geopolitical security.

    —Tim Marshall
    example alt text

    Who should read Prisoners of Geography?

    • Political junkies interested in international relations
    • Students curious about how geography informs foreign policy
    • Readers interested in world history

    About the Author

    Tim Marshall is a British journalist and the former foreign affairs editor for Sky News.

    Categories with Prisoners of Geography

    Books like Prisoners of Geography

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial