Geography plays a central role in shaping international politics and security. The importance of geography and how people interpret it was on full display for Britain, as the country debated and then voted for Brexit. Yet, the role of geography and debates over how to understand it have a much longer history for the British. For seventy-five hundred years, the British were never more than bit players at the western edge of a European stage, struggling to find a role among bigger, richer, and more sophisticated continental rivals. By 1500, however, new kinds of ships and governments had turned the European stage into an Atlantic one; with the English Channel now functioning as a barrier, England transformed the British Isles into a United Kingdom that created a worldwide empire. Since 1900, thanks to rapid globalization, Britain has been overshadowed by American, European, and―increasingly―Chinese actors. In Geography Is Destiny, Ian Morris examines 10,000 years of British history and the ways geography and how people relate to it have shaped the British story.
To discuss his new book, Geography Is Destiny: Britain and the World: A 10,000-Year History, New America welcomes Ian Morris. Morris is the Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor in History at Stanford University. He is also the author of Why the West Rules―for Now.
Join the conversation online using #GeographyisDestiny and following @NewAmericaISP.
Author, Geography is Destiny
Professor of Classics and History, Stanford University
Peter Bergen, @PeterBergenCNN
Vice President for Global Studies and Fellows, New America
Professor of Practice, ASU