Waste Land

A World in Permanent Crisis

January 2025 9781911723493 200pp
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Available as an eBook
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Robert D. Kaplan makes a novel argument connecting the current geopolitical landscape to contemporary social phenomena, including urbanization, digital news media and more, grounded in foundational modern works of philosophy, politics, and literature, including the poem from which the title is borrowed. While Eliot’s work, appearing after World War I, was about civilizational breakdown and collapse, and Sartre’s and Camus’s work, following the vast devastation of World War II, was about the meaninglessness of life and the primacy of neurosis, Kaplan argues that the world after the Cold War has been about an obsession with self that could signal the final dissolution of the West. Other experts have captured certain aspects of this thesis, but Kaplan is a generalist, taking a wide-angled vision of the world as it is evolving. He makes his argument in a journalistic style, detailing his reporting from war-torn West Africa in the 1990s, his recent visits to rural Vermont where the exiled Solzhenitsyn wrote most of his Red Wheel series, his infatuation with the unrecognized seriousness of Paul Theroux’s travel writing, and more. As in his classic essay ‘The Coming Anarchy’ thirty years ago, Waste Land makes bold, counterintuitive predications about where the world is headed. Like that earlier title, it will be a landmark text, cited and spoken of with reverence for decades to come.


Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of twenty-three books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including The Loom of TimeAdriaticThe Good AmericanThe Revenge of GeographyAsia's CauldronMonsoonThe Coming Anarchy, and Balkan Ghosts. He holds the Robert Strausz-Hupé Chair in Geopolitics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. For three decades he reported on foreign affairs for The Atlantic. He was a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel. Foreign Policy twice named him one of the world's Top 100 Global Thinkers.

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