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Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped…

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World (original: 2021; edição: 2021)

de Simon Winchester (Autor)

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1353155,638 (4.18)3
Título:Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World
Autores:Simon Winchester (Autor)
Informação:Harper (2021), 464 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

Detalhes da Obra

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World de Simon Winchester (2021)

  1. 00
    Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia de Steven Stoll (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: Ramp Hollow talks about land ownership within the context of the settlement of Appalachia. It also explains that the Appalachian forests were treated as commons by the earliest settlers.
  2. 00
    Debt: The First 5,000 Years de David Graeber (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: David Graeber's book talks about the motivation for paying property taxes as a means to assert and conserve ownership of property.
  3. 00
    A History of Scotland de Neil Oliver (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: Neil Oliver's History of Scotland covers a lot of the same issues as part of his explanation of Scotland's history. Also, both books start with Earth as a molten mass followed by continental drift.

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Simon Winchester’s new book Land is aptly titled because it is so general in its study of land. The story moves from measuring the size of the earth, to mapping the earth, to differing concepts of land among diverse peoples, to some very odd border situations, to the creation of new land in the Netherlands, to the loss of land due to climate change, to the shifting legal status of land in many countries, to “Wilding” efforts, to who owns the most land today, among many other subthemes. Winchester explores shifting laws and attitudes about land in all corners of the globe, mediæval to contemporary.

The book achieves coherence by looking the many historical, social, and political developments via the lens of how it affects land or how land influenced those developments. It is a land-centric view of cultures past and present.

Measuring the planet is one of Winchester’s first topics. Friedrich Wilhelm Georg von Struve spent forty years measuring the size of the earth. He was fortunate when Tsar Nicholas I came to power, who was an engineer by trade before ascending to the throne. Nicholas believed in the project and provided Struve with unlimited financing to obtain the best equipment in the world, and the staff he needed to assist as he traveled across, and measured, the earth. Struve’s measurements proved very accurate—40,008,696 meters compared with NASA’s measurement of 40,007, 017 meters using satellites.

Another aspect of land is borders. The oldest extant official border in the world Andorra’s. A Minnesota border around Angle Inlet (population 123) is an odd border. Access requires driving into Canada, then circling back to re-enter the US from above and enter Angle Inlet. Winchester offers several odd border situations.

The Netherlands gets the prize for most land added by humans to the planet (1.2 million acres). Look up the Zuider Zee works, brainchild of engineer Cornelis Lely, to see how one of the official Wonders of the World provided a major expansion to the nation’s landmass. On the opposite side, the book discusses land being gradually lost due to a rising sea level, with several examples.

Winchester explores land being essentially taken from people in Scotland due to legal changes such as “enclosures” and “clearances,” at the same time when huge amounts of land were being given away to anyone who would work it in the western US. Many of those losing land in Scotland came to the US to seize the opportunity.

The book briefly looks at the largest landowners in the world, and how they use the vast resource. The book illustrates the contrasting property laws among different nations, and how many are experimenting with returning land to nature, in a wide variety of different ways.

The book discusses many other land-related fascinating facts and phenomena—too many to summarize in this review. I wholeheartedly recommend Winchester’s Land story to anyone interested in any aspect of history, as land plays a rôle in so much of it. ( )
  Coutre | May 1, 2021 |
While I expected the book to be written on a popular level rather than an academic level, I expected the author would tackle land in a more traditional historical manner rather than by jumping from one incident to another in various parts of the world. On page 122 of 660 in the Kindle version, the author states, "No American, so far as I am aware, ever professed a deep and unsullied affection for the USGS topographical sheets that it is possible to order from government agencies. They are fine enough maps, and they cover the entirety of the nation. But seldom are they bought for the sheer pleasure of ownership, of the ability to pore over them and imagine, or remember, to draw contented admiration at their elegant appearance and scrupulous accuracy." My immediate thought was that he had never met a land-platting genealogist! Many purchased these maps for every location in which their ancestors lived or in which they were working for a client. Nowadays the maps are available online and most use software to plat the deeds so fewer maps are being purchased, but there are still many who prefer to own these maps. I realize the author was making a point about the availablility of Ordnance Survey maps in many places in the UK whereas they needed to be ordered from a single location in the United States, but he overstated his case. Unfortunately he exaggerated points in many places in the book. While I initially planned to purchase a copy of this pre-publication, but I'm glad I decided to read a library copy before purchasing. I do not need another dust catcher, and that's exactly what this book would do on my shelves. Its usefulness is minimal. ( )
  thornton37814 | Apr 14, 2021 |
Who would have imagined that a book about land ownership could be so interesting. This is an eye-opening look at the question of who owns land and how that land ownership came about. The author provides examples from all over the world and addresses the topic from multiple points of view. This book is highly recommended. ( )
  M_Clark | Mar 18, 2021 |
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