Review published on July 26, 2017.
In Restless Continent, Michael Wesley takes his reader on a historical and geographical odyssey through Asia, giving us the background to the tensions, conflicts and alliances shaping the continent today. Taking in colonialism, US interference and the complex rivalries that underpin relations in the region, it’s a tremendously detailed and, to my relatively uninformed mind, comprehensive discussion, and one which offers a useful primer in the topic.
My nascent interest in geopolitics was birthed by Tim Marshall’s Prisoners of Geography, and I looked to Wesley’s book to expand on what I learned about Asian geopolitics there. While Wesley’s delivery is less wry and witty than Marshall’s, giving Restless Continent a somewhat more dry approach, the book certainly accomplishes its aims of informing the reader in subjects like economics and politics, as well as the historical movements, figures and events which led to the continent’s status in 2017. The book is concerned equally with Asia’s past and future, with Wesley clearly outlining the potential for further conflicts, particularly involving North Korea, giving the book a particularly topical spin in these troubling days of missile launches and international tension. My existing interest in geopolitics, specifically the impact of international borders on relations between nations, made ‘Fateful Terrains’ the most intriguing chapter for me; if, like me, you have only a cursory understanding of Asia as a region, Restless Continent should help to fill in some gaps, while I also think the book possesses enough academic detail to interest even someone with existing expertise in the topic.
Katy Goodwin-Bates 3/3
Restless Continent: Wealth, Rivalry and Asia’s New Geopolitics by Michael Wesley
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