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.

Subscribe to Geographical!

Adventure Canada

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

  • 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 Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    When the wind blows
    With 1,200 wind turbines due to be built in the UK this year, Mark Rowe explores the continuing controversy surrounding wind power and discusses the e...
    Mexico City: boom town
    Twenty years ago, Mexico City was considered the ultimate urban disaster. But, recent political and economic reforms have transformed it into a hub of...

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 Joe Shute • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Beau Riffenburgh • Andre Deutsch • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Diana Preston • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Michael Benanav • Pegasus Books • £21.99 (hardback)

Books

by Tony Juniper • Profile Books • £16.99/£12.99 (hardback/ebook)

Books

by Roland Jackson • Oxford University Press • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Kristy Leissle • Polity Press • £14.99 (paperback)

Books

by Christopher Somerville  •  Black Swan Publishing  •  £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Doug Scott  •  Vertebrate Publishing  •  £20 (hardback)

Books

by Ursula Martin  •  Honno Press  •  £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Navid Kermani  •  Polity Books  •  £17.99 (paperback)

Books

by Julian Sayarer • Arcadia Books • £9.99 (hardback)

Books

by Robin Hanbury-Tenison • IB Tauris • £17.99 (hardback)

Books

by Daniel Schwartz •  Thames & Hudson •  £40 (hardback)

Books

by Nigel Hughes • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Caitlin Doughty • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £14.99/£7.99 (hardback/eBook)

Reviews

directed by Ivo Van Hove •  National Theatre

Books

by Norman Davies • Allen Lane • £30 (hardback)

Exhibitions

This intimate east London exhibition provides a multi-sensory exploration into…