Earning the Rockies: How Geography Shapes America's Role in the World

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An incisive portrait of the American landscape that shows how geography continues to determine America’s role in the world—from the bestselling author of The Revenge of Geography and Balkan Ghosts

As a boy, Robert D. Kaplan listened to his truck-driver father tell evocative stories about traveling across America in his youth, travels in which he learned to understand the country literally from the ground up. There was a specific phrase from Kaplan’s childhood that captured this perspective: A westward traveler must “earn the Rockies” by driving—not flying—across the flat Midwest and Great Plains.

In Earning the Rockies, Kaplan undertakes his own cross-country journey to recapture an appreciation of American geography often lost in the jet age. Traveling west, in the same direction as the pioneers, Kaplan traverses a rich and varied landscape that remains the primary source of American power. Along the way, he witnesses both prosperity and decline—increasingly cosmopolitan cities that thrive on globalization, impoverished towns denuded by the loss of manufacturing—and paints a bracingly clear picture of America today.

The history of westward expansion is examined here in a new light—as a story not just of genocide and individualism, but also of communalism and a respect for the limits of a water-starved terrain, a frontier experience that bent our national character toward pragmatism. Kaplan shows how the great midcentury works of geography and geopolitics by Bernard DeVoto, Walter Prescott Webb, and Wallace Stegner are more relevant today than ever before. Concluding his journey at Naval Base San Diego, Kaplan looks out across the Pacific Ocean to the next frontier: China, India, and the emerging nations of Asia. And in the final chapter, he provides a gripping description of an anarchic world and explains why America’s foreign policy response ought to be rooted in its own geographical situation.

In this short, intense meditation on the American landscape, Robert D. Kaplan reminds us of an overlooked source of American strength: the fact that we are a nation, empire, and continent all at once. Earning the Rockies is an urgent reminder of how a nation’s geography still foreshadows its future, and how we must reexamine our own landscape in order to confront the challenges that lie before us.

Praise for Earning the Rockies

“There is more insight here into the Age of Trump than in bushels of political-horse-race journalism. . . . Earning the Rockies is a tonic, because it brings fundamentals back into view.”The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

“A sui generis writer . . . America’s East Coast establishment has only one Robert Kaplan, someone as fluently knowledgeable about the Balkans, Iraq, Central Asia and West Africa as he is about Ohio and Wyoming.”Financial Times

“Kaplan has pursued stories in places as remote as Yemen and Outer Mongolia. In Earning the Rockies, he visits a place almost as remote to many Americans: these United States. . . . The author’s point is a good one: America is formed, in part, by a geographic setting that is both sanctuary and watchtower.”The Wall Street Journal

“A brilliant reminder of the impact of America’s geography on its strategy. . . . Kaplan’s latest contribution should be required reading.”—Henry A. Kissinger

“Unflinchingly honest, this refreshing approach shows how ideas from outside Washington, D.C., will balance America’s idealism and pragmatism in dealing with a changed world.”—Secretary of Defense James Mattis
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About the author

Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of seventeen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including Earning the Rockies, In Europe’s Shadow, Asia’s Cauldron, The Revenge of Geography, Monsoon, The Coming Anarchy, and Balkan Ghosts. He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a senior advisor at Eurasia Group. For three decades his work appeared in The Atlantic. He held the national security chair at the United States Naval Academy and was a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. Foreign Policy magazine twice named him one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Jan 24, 2017
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780399588235
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / General
Political Science / Geopolitics
Travel / United States / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Robert D. Kaplan
Having reported on some of the world's most violent, least understood regions in his bestsellers Balkan Ghosts and The Ends of the Earth, Robert Kaplan now returns to his native land, the United States of America. Traveling, like Tocqueville and John Gunther before him, through a political and cultural landscape in transition, Kaplan reveals a nation shedding a familiar identity as it assumes a radically new one.
        An Empire Wilderness opens in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where the first white settlers moved into Indian country and where Manifest Destiny was born. In a world whose future conflicts can barely be imagined, it is also the place where the army trains its men to fight the next war. "A nostalgic view of the United States is deliberately cultivated here," Kaplan writes, "as if to bind the uncertain future to a reliable past."
        From Fort Leavenworth, Kaplan travels west to the great cities of the heartland--to St. Louis, once a glorious shipping center expected to outshine imperial Rome and now touted, with its desolate inner city and miles of suburban gated communities, as "the most average American city." Kaplan continues west to Omaha; down through California; north from Mexico, across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas; up to Montana and Canada, and back through Oregon.
        He visits Mexican border settlements and dust-blown county sheriffs' offices, Indian reservations and nuclear bomb plants, cattle ranches in the Oklahoma Panhandle, glacier-mantled forests in the Pacific Northwest, swanky postsuburban sprawls and grim bus terminals, and comes, at last, to the great battlefield at Vicksburg, Mississippi, where an earlier generation of Americans gave their lives for their vision of an American future. But what, if anything, he asks, will today's Americans fight and die for?
        At Vicksburg Kaplan contemplates the new America through which he has just traveled--an America of sharply polarized communities that draws its population from pools of talent far beyond its borders; an America where the distance between winners and losers grows exponentially as corporations assume gov-ernment functions and the wealthy find themselves more closely linked to their business associates in India and China than to their poorer neighbors a few miles away; an America where old loyalties and allegiances are vanishing and new ones are only beginning to emerge. The new America he found is in the pages of this book. Kaplan gives a precise and chilling vision of how the most successful nation the world has ever known is entering the final, and highly uncertain, phase of its history.
Tim Marshall
In this New York Times bestseller, updated for 2016, an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers—“fans of geography, history, and politics (and maps) will be enthralled” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

Maps have a mysterious hold over us. Whether ancient, crumbling parchments or generated by Google, maps tell us things we want to know, not only about our current location or where we are going but about the world in general. And yet, when it comes to geo-politics, much of what we are told is generated by analysts and other experts who have neglected to refer to a map of the place in question.

All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. In “one of the best books about geopolitics” (The Evening Standard), now updated to include 2016 geopolitical developments, journalist Tim Marshall examines Russia, China, the US, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Greenland and the Arctic—their weather, seas, mountains, rivers, deserts, and borders—to provide a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders.

Offering “a fresh way of looking at maps” (The New York Times Book Review), Marshall explains the complex geo-political strategies that shape the globe. Why is Putin so obsessed with Crimea? Why was the US destined to become a global superpower? Why does China’s power base continue to expand? Why is Tibet destined to lose its autonomy? Why will Europe never be united? The answers are geographical. “In an ever more complex, chaotic, and interlinked world, Prisoners of Geography is a concise and useful primer on geopolitics” (Newsweek) and a critical guide to one of the major determining factors in world affairs.
D. Peter MacLeod
A huge, ambitious re-creation of the eighteenth-century Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the pivotal battle in the Seven Years’ War (1754–1763) to win control of the trans-Appalachian region of North America, a battle consisting of the British and American colonists on one side and the French and the Iroquois Confederacy on the other, and leading directly to the colonial War of Independence and the creation of Canada.

It took five years of warfare fought on three continents—Europe, Asia, and North America—to bring the forces arrayed against one another—Britain, Prussia, and Hanover against France, Austria, Sweden, Saxony, Russia, and Spain (Churchill called it “the first world war”)—to the plateau outside Quebec City, on September 13, 1759, on fields owned a century before by a fisherman named Abraham Martin . . . It was the final battle of a three-month siege by the British Army and Navy of Quebec, the walled city that controlled access to the St. Lawrence River and the continent’s entire network of waterways; a battle with the British utilizing 15,000 soldiers, employing 186 ships, with hundreds of colonists aboard British warships and transports from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, with France sending in a mere 400 reinforcements in addition to its 3,500 soldiers.  

The battle on the Plains of Abraham lasted twenty minutes, and at its finish the course of a continent was changed forever . . . New military tactics were used for the first time against standard European formations . . . Generals Wolfe and Montcalm each died of gunshot wounds . . . France surrendered Quebec to the British, setting the course for the future of Canada, paving the way for the signing of the Treaty of Paris that gave the British control of North America east of the Mississippi, and forcing France to relinquish its claims on New Orleans and to give the lands west of the Mississippi to Spain for surrendering Florida to the British.
           
After the decisive battle, Britain’s maritime and colonial supremacy was assured, its hold on the thirteen American colonies tightened. The American participation in ousting the French as a North American power spurred the confidence of the people of New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, who began to agitate for independence from Great Britain. Sixteen years later, France, still bitter over the loss of most of its colonial empire, intervened on behalf of the patriots in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).
           
In Northern Armageddon, Peter MacLeod, using original research—diaries, journals, letters, and firsthand accounts—and bringing to bear all of his extensive knowledge and grasp of warfare and colonial North American history, tells the epic story on a human scale. He writes of the British at Quebec through the eyes of a master’s mate on one of the ships embroiled in the battle. And from the French perspective, as the British bombarded Quebec, of four residents of the city—a priest, a clerk, a nun, and a notary—caught in the crossfire.

MacLeod gives us as well the large-scale ramifications of this clash of armies, not only on the shape of North America, but on the history of Europe itself.

A stunning work of military history.
Andrew Doughty
The finest guidebook ever written for the Big Island. Now you can plan your best vacation—ever. This all new eighth edition is a candid, humorous guide to everything there is to see and do on the Big Island. Best-selling author and longtime Hawai‘i resident, Andrew Doughty, unlocks the secrets of an island so vast and diverse that many visitors never realize all that it has to offer. Explore with him as he reveals breathtaking trails, secluded beaches, pristine reefs, delicious places to dine, relaxing resorts, an active volcano and so much more. Every restaurant, activity provider, business and resort is reviewed personally and anonymously. This book and a rental car are all you need to discover what makes the Big Island so exciting.

• The most accurate up-to-date information available anyplace with up-to-the-minute changes posted to our website
• Frank, brutally honest reviews of restaurants, hotels and activities show you which companies really are the best...and which to avoid—no advertisements
• Driving tours let you structure your trip your way, point out sights not to be missed along the way and are complemented over 200 spectacular color photographs
• 36 specially created maps in an easy-to-follow format with mile markers—so you’ll always know where you are on the island
• Clear, concise directions to those hard-to-find places such as deserted black sand beaches, tropical rain forests, hidden waterfalls, the most dramatic part of the erupting volcano, freshwater lava pools (some volcanically heated) and scores of other hidden gems listed nowhere else
• Exclusive chapter on Big Island’s beaches with detailed descriptions including ocean safety
• Unique Activities and Adventures chapters of exciting activities from ATVs to ziplines
• All new and expanded island dining chapter
• Fascinating sections on Hawai‘i’s history, culture, language and legends
• Companion website with links to every business, events calendar, 90 resort reviews complete with aerial photos—so you’ll know if oceanfront really means oceanfront

"Hawaii The Big Island Revealed" covers it all—from the snow-covered top of Mauna Kea, to the sparkling underwater reefs. This is the best investment you can make for your Big Island visit. Whether you are a first time visitor, or a longtime kama‘aina, you will find out more about the Big Island from this book than from any other source. Discover the island of your dreams with "Hawaii The Big Island Revealed".
Robert D. Kaplan
A bracing assessment of U.S. foreign policy and world disorder over the past two decades, anchored by a major new Pentagon-commissioned essay about changing power dynamics among China, Eurasia, and America—from the renowned geopolitical analyst and bestselling author of The Revenge of Geography and The Coming Anarchy.

In the late thirteenth century, Marco Polo began a decades-long trek from Venice to China. The strength of that Silk Road—the trade route between Europe and Asia—was a foundation of Kublai Khan’s sprawling empire. Now, in the early twenty-first century, the Chinese regime has proposed a land-and-maritime Silk Road that duplicates exactly the route Marco Polo traveled.

In the major lead essay, recently released by the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, Robert D. Kaplan lays out a blueprint of the world’s changing power politics that recalls the late thirteenth century. As Europe fractures from changes in culture and migration, Eurasia coheres into a single conflict system. China is constructing a land bridge to Europe. Iran and India are trying to link the oil fields of Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. America’s ability to influence the power balance in Eurasia is declining.

This is Kaplan’s first collection of essays since his classic The Coming Anarchy was published in 2000. Drawing on decades of firsthand experience as a foreign correspondent and military embed for The Atlantic, as well as encounters with preeminent realist thinkers, Kaplan outlines the timeless principles that should shape America’s role in a turbulent world: a respect for the limits of Western-style democracy; a delineation between American interests and American values; an awareness of the psychological toll of warfare; a projection of power via a strong navy; and more.

From Kaplan’s immediate thoughts on President Trump (“On Foreign Policy, Donald Trump Is No Realist,” 2016) to a frank examination of what will happen in the event of war with North Korea (“When North Korea Falls,” 2006), The Return of Marco Polo’s World is a vigorous and honest reckoning with the difficult choices the United States will face in the years ahead.

“These essays constitute a truly pathbreaking, brilliant synthesis and analysis of geographic, political, technological, and economic trends with far-reaching consequences. The Return of Marco Polo’s World is another work by Robert D. Kaplan that will be regarded as a classic.”—General David Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.)
Robert D. Kaplan
In Mediterranean Winter, Robert D. Kaplan, the bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts and Eastward to Tartary, relives an austere, haunting journey he took as a youth through the off-season Mediterranean. The awnings are rolled up and the other tourists are gone, so the damp, cold weather takes him back to the 1950s and earlier—a golden, intensely personal age of tourism.

Decades ago, Kaplan voyaged from North Africa to Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece, luxuriating in the radical freedom of youth, unaccountable to time because there was always time to make up for a mistake. He recalls that journey in this Persian miniature of a book, less to look inward into his own past than to look outward in order to dissect the process of learning through travel, in which a succession of new landscapes can lead to books and artwork never before encountered.

Kaplan first imagines Tunis as the glow of gypsum lamps shimmering against lime-washed mosques; the city he actually discovers is even more intoxicating. He takes the reader to the ramparts of a Turkish kasbah where Carthaginian, Roman, and Byzantine forts once stood: “I could see deep into Algeria over a rib-work of hills so gaunt it seemed the wind had torn the flesh off them.” In these austere and aromatic surroundings he discovers Saint Augustine; the courtyards of Tunis lead him to the historical writings of Ibn Khaldun.

Kaplan takes us to the fifth-century Greek temple at Segesta, where he reflects on the ill-fated Athenian invasion of Sicily. At Hadrian’s villa, “Shattered domes revealed clouds moving overhead in countless visions of eternity. It was a place made for silence and for contemplation, where you wanted a book handy. Every corner was a cloister. No view was panoramic: each seemed deliberately composed.”

Kaplan’s bus and train travels, his nighttime boat voyages, and his long walks in one archaeological site after another lead him to subjects as varied as the Berber threat to Carthage; the Roman army’s hunt for the warlord Jugurtha; the legacy of Byzantine art; the medieval Greek philosopher Georgios Gemistos Plethon, who helped kindle the Italian Renaissance; twentieth-century British literary writing about Greece; and the links between Rodin and the Croa-
tian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. Within these pages are smells, tastes, and the profundity of chance encounters. Mediterranean Winter begins in Rodin’s sculpture garden in Paris, passes through the gritty streets of Marseilles, and ends with a moving epiphany about Greece as the world prepares for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Mediterranean Winter is the story of an education. It is filled with memories and history, not the author’s alone, but humanity’s as well.
羅柏.D.卡普蘭(Robert D. Kaplan)
地理戰略家羅柏.D.卡普蘭對第三世界的第一手觀察


人口壓力、環境惡化、疾病與種族文化衝突,

深入動亂紛擾的現場,直探第三世界核心問題



「這趟旅行的開始,我很天真。我還不知道答案會在一個人繼續旅行的時候消失,我還不知道隨著旅行繼續只有更加複雜,更多的相互關聯,以及更多的問題。」

——羅柏.卡普蘭


經典雜誌總編輯王志宏:「卡普蘭所描繪的是被忽略的另一個真實世界,這趟黑暗之旅應是我們需要了解,需要去思索的。畢竟我們是世界,世界是我們。」


資深記者羅柏.D.卡普蘭的魅力在於擅長運用旅行文學的手法處理新聞議題,這是他用以理解這個世界的方式及範例。在前作《巴爾幹鬼魂》裡,他闡述了前南斯拉夫聯邦驚悚的解體過程;在《世界的盡頭》一書中,他親身走訪戰火衝突不斷的第三世界,從西非的賴比瑞亞、獅子山國到近東埃及,再轉至伊朗、印度,最後到達東南亞,試圖透過近距離觀察來探討這些國家從過去到今日所面臨的政治、文化、社會及種族等問題的真相……


深入現場的第一手觀察,直探黑暗世界的問題核心!


非洲,是卡普蘭觀察之旅的起點。他認為「二十一世紀的非洲就像二十世紀的歐洲,是我們不得不面對的問題。」這塊大陸聚集最多的人口、有最躁熱的天氣、最多瘧蚊引起的疾病,也是全球最貧窮的地方……而此地的犯罪率更是與人口、貧窮問題緊緊纏結著。 

他以在阿必尚眼見的街頭畫面來詮釋非洲的沉重影像:一個裸體男孩在散停著巴士的終點站角落的垃圾桶裡到處覓食;一個全身只穿粉紅色內衣的女人用一支生鏽的釘子梳頭髮。她雙臂優美的曲線透露出她想在骯髒的臉上保留尊嚴的掙扎。

非洲,一個如同跳脫地圖之外的疏離世界。……


卡普蘭深入世界上最動亂地區、造訪象牙海岸貧民區、柬埔寨死亡集中營等等,他筆下所描述的是個長久以來被忽略卻真實的世界,不論其歷史的原罪為何,人口壓力、環境惡化、疾病、文化與種族衝突,是這黑暗世界共同面臨的問題。……


這是一本融合旅行見聞和國際觀察的作品,作者卡普蘭一直堅持的旅遊寫作是,應該必須面對真實的世界:「對於那些仍不相信我們正處於革命時代的人而言,我希望一份旅行文件能成為一種電擊治療。」 




出版社 馬可孛羅 (城邦)

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