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Geographical's pick of the books: June 2021

  • Written by  Geographical
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Geographical's pick of the books: June 2021
02 Jul
2021
Your monthly dose of recommended nonfiction reads for June

how to love animals

BOOK OF THE MONTH: HOW TO LOVE ANIMALS In a Human-Shaped World by Henry Mance

Do you love animals? Most of us would say yes. We adore pets, enjoy videos of pandas rolling down ramps and get angry about orangutans in Borneo grieving for forests lost to logging. In his debut non-fiction work, Financial Times chief feature writer Henry Mance puts our infatuation to the test and holds up a magnifying glass to the countless industries and experiences that depend on interspecies relationships, weighing up our treatment of animals against our appreciation. In short, can we ever come to terms with animal suffering and – if not – why do we continue to not only allow it, but sustain it?

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Midnights borders

MIDNIGHT'S BORDERS: A People's History of Modern India by Suchitra Vijayan

Barrister, journalist and photographer Suchitra Vijayan set herself an intimidating task with Midnight’s Borders: that of cataloguing all of India’s borders. It took her seven years to do it, flying back and forth to the country she was born in. What results is not a happy tale. Be it the border with Myanmar, where the Naga people live within a never-ending conflict; the fraught and inhospitable terrain between India and China; the increasingly fenced and policed border with Bangladesh; or the border with Pakistan where ‘the indignities of daily life and palpable sense of loss experienced during partition are still alive and well’, Vijayan meets people whose lives are dominated by and made worse by borders.

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criminal contation

CRIMINAL CONTAGION: How Mafias, Gangsters and Scammers Profit from a Pandemic by Tuesday Reitano and Mark Shaw

In a world inundated with abbreviations, GIATOC may not resonate. But it’s directly linked to another that has become common parlance in the past year and a half: Covid-19. Tuesday Reitano and Mark Shaw are, respectively, deputy director and director of GIATOC: the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. Their book provides a chilling revelation as to the ways in which the coronavirus pandemic has enabled the international underworld to thrive.

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madhouse at the end of the earth

MADHOUSE AT THE END OF THE EARTH: The Belgica's Journey Into the Dark Antarctic Night by Julian Sancton

Madhouse at the End of the Earth tells the story of Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery’s eccentric Belgian Antarctic Expedition, which set sail from Europe in August 1897, intent on becoming the first scientific enterprise to reach the South Pole. Perhaps predictably, it didn’t work out. The team instead became the first to overwinter in the Antarctic; not all of the crew returned.

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ice rivers

ICE RIVERS by Jemma Wadham

In 2019, a funeral was held for Okjökull, the first Icelandic glacier to be lost to climate change. A commemorative plaque, fixed to a boulder once held in its icy grip, reads: ‘A letter to our future. Ok is the first Iceland glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it. August 2019. 415ppm CO2.’

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Latitude

LATITUDE: The Astonishing Adventure that Shaped the World by Nicholas Crane

The Earth is spherical, but not perfectly so. In 1735, 12 men set sail for equatorial South America, aiming to discover the Earth’s true shape by measuring the length on the ground of one degree of latitude. Was it elongated or flattened at the poles – prolate or oblate? It was the question of the time and mattered for making accurate maps and charts, for safer and more profitable ocean navigation, and for improved trading and political relationships.

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