Beyond the Map: Unruly Enclaves, Ghostly Places, Emerging Lands and Our Search for New Utopias

Alastair Bonnett. Univ. of Chicago, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-226-51384-3
Ranging from downright funny to deadly serious, each chapter in this guide from social geography professor Bonnett (New Views) takes the reader on a journey to an unusual location. These spots are physical (infamous Mokattam Village, also known as Cairo’s Garbage City) and virtual (the online world Second Life), and exist in the past (Doggerland, a chunk of southern England now sunk beneath the sea), present (the Islamic State) and future (new islands rising in the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland.) On the surface, these places have little in common. But Bonnett isn’t interested in surfaces. His point is that even in the age of Google Earth, many places defy mapping, and that defiance reveals much about how humanity both influences and is influenced by its natural and man-made surroundings. Bonnett calls into question the very solidity of “place” itself, and big issues like pollution and global warming, ethnic violence, and the plight of the global poor hover over all he has to say. “The world exhibited here is fragmented and fragmenting,” he writes. By turns delightful and sobering, this book, like the best travel, inspires both the mind and the imagination. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/05/2018
Release date: 04/23/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-1-78131-638-2
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