The Edge of the Plain: How Borders Make and Break Our World

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Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.32 X 9.26 X 1.4 inches | 1.39 pounds

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About the Author

James Crawford is RCAHMS Communications Manager, and has previously worked as a literary agent, journalist and editor.


A richly essayistic travelogue.... Excellent.--Steven Poole "The Guardian"
A lush, vivid, and powerful exploration of an idea as old as humanity, yet one which is implicated in today's most intractable global challenges. On the surface, borders appear to be about fixity. But Crawford digs far deeper. In his moving and evocative prose, we learn that borders morph, shift, and flex; they live, breathe--and sometimes choke. Crawford's border stories are richly populated, showing how borders are themselves the human performance of stories, often violent. Ghosts and phantoms haunt Crawford's terrain. From the frozen Arctic lands of Scandinavia to Africa's Sahel, Crawford travels far and wide in his pursuit of the meaning of borders. Drawing lines from deep history to today's fractured existence, The Edge of the Plain is an urgent call for comprehension of a practice that is destined to demarcate all our futures.--David Rooney, author of About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks
With The Edge of the Plain Crawford has created a beautifully observed and carefully researched collection of reportage on a diverse series of borders--of historic Palestine, in the Mediterranean, USA/Mexico, as well as other less-considered borders--those revealed by our rapidly changing climate, and the microscopic frontiers of the human body. Sometimes the view from the edge is the most illuminating one.--Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum
A text reminiscent of those of Barry Lopez or Robert Macfarlane.... A thoughtful consideration of the imaginary lines that hold meaning for so many.-- "Kirkus Reviews"
An innovative and eclectic study of borders past, present, and future.... Throughout, [Crawford] draws fascinating and original parallels between historical events.... This is a vital and eloquent reminder that borders control 'our landscapes, our memories, our identities.'--Publishers Weekly, starred review
Crawford uncovers the cost of these divisions in terms of human suffering, economic inequality, and environmental degradation.... A timely, valuable discussion of a pivotal issue.--Library Journal, starred review
[A] wide-reaching examination of the walls, barriers and 'landscape interventions' that promote both freedom and independence, and enforce exile and humiliation.... Borders are indeed a dirty affair, but as Crawford's excellent book demonstrates, they are also fascinating.--Joanna Grochowicz "Geographical"
Pulls history, travelogue and reportage into an ambitious investigation.... The borders that mark our world are either ineffective, inhumane or both. The Edge of the Plain asks us to envision alternatives.--Lauren Redniss "New York Times Book Review"
By exploring obvious borders and less obvious ones and looking at how they do (or don't) fit together, this illuminating book helps readers make sense of more than a few of our planet's edges.--Randy Cepuch "Washington Independent Review of Books"
Beguiling.... Crawford has a knack for finding original perspectives and observations.... If all borders are stories, we could start by telling better ones. Borders, after all, may be the places where we are divided. But they're also the places where we touch.--Joshua Keating "Slate"