... incisive, meticulous ... Drawing on his 25 years of experience reporting global foreign affairs, Marshall presents concise overviews that allow readers to quickly grasp geographical ruptures and draw universal comparisons ... This enlightening, shrewd assessment of the walls that separate us proves that there is actually far more that unites us.
The tour in [the book] is, unfortunately, figurative. Marshall has reported from dozens of countries, often when they were passing through moments of howling drama, but few of those tales filter in. Instead, the case studies seem to draw more on dry policy journals and faraway newspapers than his own first-hand observation ... A giant paradox undergirds Marshall’s book, but he never quite looks it in the eye. Why is our age of walls also the most open age in humanity’s history? Why is the march of globalisation now being kept company by re-activated nationalisms? [The book] exhibits a deterministic streak that feels wearying and shallow in the face of such questions.
Some of these ideas are intriguing but Marshall barely gives them room to breathe and his conclusion feels rushed. However he has delivered a readable primer to many of the biggest problems facing the world.