As he insists that maps still matter, he rejects the charge of determinism, arguing that he is merely describing the limits geography places on leaders’ decisions ... At times, the approach can be refreshing and very useful ... Sometimes the arguments are contradictory ... A few of Marshall’s claims just seem like a stretch ... He rightly acknowledges that the significance of physical features changes over time. This is particularly true when it comes to energy.
With his characteristically felicitous and witty writing, he starts each chapter by introducing the reader to the fundamental geographical realities of a region and its ancient history, eventually winding his way through to the 20th century and then to the present ... Though the book offers intelligent insights into the international relations of ten specific regions, it is not an in-depth study of any of them ... The author is well-read and has personal experiences working as a journalist in several regions he writes about in the book ... Where the book excels...is in giving the reader a thoughtful introduction to crucial concepts of international politics through the prism of geography. It would stimulate the reader to learn more about the ideas discussed, but it neither is nor does it intend to be a comprehensive appraisal of the topics it addresses.
[An] engaging offering ... Marshall has decades of experience as a foreign correspondent, and his writing is clear and concise and sprinkled with wry observations. His ten maps mentioned in the subtitle offer readers fresh perspectives.