This is an atlas of 48 nations that fell off the map. The polite way of writing an obituary is: dwell on the good bits, gloss over the embarrassing stuff. This book refuses to do so, because these dead nations are so full of schemers, racists, and con men that it's impossible to skip the embarrassing stuff.
Often fun and sarcastic, the book adopts a more serious tone when acknowledging the effects of colonialism around the globe. The tragedies of the Congo Free State and the Quilombo of Palmares are sobering reminders of the human toll of conquest. The would-be nation builders in this book are greedy and entitled—and, just sometimes, so absurd that they become darkly humorous ... Both educational and entertaining, An Atlas of Extinct Countries is an irreverent look at the history of defunct nations and the larger-than-life personalities behind them.
Defoe, who works in film and animation, here writes a revved-up prose a bit like Hunter S. Thompson’s, but more jokey and with an English accent; it took me a while to get used to his sass, but I came to enjoy it immensely.
Hate history? Hate geography? Just let Defoe’s irreverent wit make these subjects come alive. From his iconoclastic intro to tongue-in-cheek discussions of flags and anthems, Defoe’s romp through geographical history will delight. Each short chapter opens with salient facts, and instead of listing boring latitude and longitude ... Anglophiles will appreciate Defoe’s use of words like skint and tenner. Each chapter includes hand-drawn maps. This book is a sparkling gem. Don’t gloss over the footnotes!