Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
From the best-selling author Simon Winchester, a human history of land around the world: who mapped it, owned it, stole it, cared for it, fought for it and gave it back.
In 1889, thousands of hopeful people raced southward from the Kansas state line and westward from the Arkansas boundary to stake claims on the thousands of acres of unclaimed pastures and meadows. Across the 20th century, water was dammed and drained in Holland so that a new province, Flevoland, rose up, unchartered and requiring new thinking. In 1850, California legislated the theft of land from Native Americans. An apology came in 2019 from the governor, but what of the call for reparations or return? What of government confiscation of land in India, or questions of fairness when it comes to New Zealand’s Maori population and the legacy of settlers?
The ownership of land has always been complicated, opaque and more than a little anarchic when viewed from the outside. In this book, Simon Winchester explores the the stewardship of land, the ways it is delineated and changes hands, the great disputes and the questions of restoration—particularly in the light of climate change and colonialist reparation.
A global study, this is an exquisite exploration of what the ownership of land might really mean—not in dry-as-dust legal terms, but for the people who live on it.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 46 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||19 January 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 1,733 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
1 in Land Use Law (Books)
5 in Law (Audible Books & Originals)
8 in History of Civilisation
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Proponents of crypto currency’s would do well to read this book and seriously reconsider their premise.
Still, an enjoyable read packed with information
Winchester is fascinated by the very concept of land ownership. It’s a relatively modern invention especially in the new world. Indigenous societies in the Americas, Africa, Australia and New Zealand would have scoffed at the very idea. How can one have ownership of land? It would be just the same as trying to “own” the wind or the sea. Yet, here we are today where land has owners.
Winchester begins his book with a story about his first land purchase in upstate New York. From here, the reader is taken on a whirlwind tour of land and its issues around the world. One titbit on this tour that amused me was the story of how George Washington was effectively expropriated of land by George III’s decision to delineate a Proclamation Line in 1763. Land beyond this line would be left for native Americans. Washington owned some 32,000 acres of farmland on the “Indian” side of the line. How important was this one decision in encouraging US independence efforts?
By and large, Winchester outlines how land has driven a host of outcomes in history. These would include, amongst others, the removal of indigenous peoples in all parts of the new world, Stalin’s desire to “liquidate the kulaks” and the famine that ensued, the chaos of the middle east for numerous centuries where various religions have fought over scraps of dusty soil, and the list goes on. Winchester is nothing if not omnivorous in his coverage.