Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

NO FRIENDS BUT THE MOUNTAINS by Judith Matloff

  • Written by  Mick Herron
  • Published in Books
NO FRIENDS BUT THE MOUNTAINS by Judith Matloff
05 Mar
2017
Mountain regions host a disproportionate share of the world’s conflicts: home to poppy growers and jihadists, they are where wars of resistance are fought. And though they display a vast range of topographical variation, they hold in common ‘cruel weather and harsh earth’, instilling in those who live there a deep sense of apartness


Or so veteran war correspondent Judith Matloff argues in this chillingly enlightening account of those who live in mountain regions in order to elude or destroy authority, and whose blood feuds are handed down from one generation to the next.

Matloff finds that conflict zones produce a sort of limbo; people who live there are caught on ‘existential borders’, cut off from the world. In pursuit of this thesis, she visits Marquetalia in Colombia, where 1,200 peasants took over an abandoned farm and lived communally, until driven into the mountains by the government, helped by the United States, who feared a Castro-like revolution. Flight into the Andes allowed the insurgency to grow: the FARC used a decades-long familiarity with the terrain to carry out night raids on settlements below.

Matloff also gained access to the Sierra Madre’s Zapatistas, whose rebellion was ‘the world’s first by internet’ – their anti-globalisation messages transmitted through a website – and convincingly argues that the Boston Marathon bombers’ Chechen parentage, with its inherited sense of isolation and dispossession from a mountain homeland, led them to identify with their Muslim cause.

It is important that we pay attention to these places, so that we might better respond to conflicts that threaten to ignite in the future. ‘Danger, like water, flows downhill.’     

Click here to purchase ‘No Friends but the Mountains’ by Judith Matloff

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

LATEST HEADLINES

Subscribe to Geographical!

University of Winchester

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    The green dragon awakens
    China has achieved remarkable economic success following the principle of developing first and cleaning up later. But now the country with the world's...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by Graham Hoyland• William Collins • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Dr Lucy Jones• Doubleday Books • £19.99 (hardback)

Books

by Daniel Pinchbeck• Watkins • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Jasper Winn • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Nathan H Lents • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £16.99…

Films

This hard-hitting marine conservation film – part of the Ocean…

Films

Here are the newest non-fiction offerings to satisfy that craving…

Exhibitions

The Society’s Earth Photo exhibition captures the planet’s natural riches…

Books

by Alanna Mitchell • Oneworld • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Christopher J Preston • The MIT Press • £20.95…

Books

by Jamal Mahjoub • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Joanna Kafarowski • Dundurn Press • 15.99 (hardback)

Books

by Peter Dauvergne • Polity Books • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Mary Beard and David Olusoga • Profile Books •…

Exhibitions

It’s hard to imagine life without the visual world upfront…

Books

by Patrick Winn • Icon Books • £14.99 (paperback)

Books

by Mark Nelson • UA Press • £21.99 (paperback)

Books

by Ed Douglas and John Beatty • Vertebrate Publishing •…

Books

by Tristan Gooley • Sceptre Books • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Weymouth • Particular Books • £16.99 (hardback)