Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies

Alastair Bonnett. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-544-10157-9
In short, four-to-five page essays, social geographer Bonnett explores forbidding cities like the pirate stronghold of Hobyo, Somalia, the abandoned town of Pripyat, hard by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and the underground towns of Turkish Cappadocia; dejected dwellings, like the RV camp at LAX’s Parking Lot E and the secret “Bright Light” CIA detention center in Bucharest; fake places, like the empty British towns built to distract German bombers from real ones and the completely imaginary Sandy Island, which appeared on maps of the Pacific for a century until it was discovered not to exist; a homey fox den and an inaccessible traffic island near the author’s English home. Bonnett digs up interesting lore on these 47 offbeat sites that, together, “conspire to make the world seem a stranger place where discovery and adventure are still possible, both nearby and far away.”,. Bonnett’s charming, pensive prose and light-handed erudition illuminates the stubborn human impulse to find a home in the unlikeliest places. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 07/08/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-670-06718-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-4945-5582-5
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