* Owning the Earth by Andro Linkatter


The subject matter of Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership is surprisingly interesting: the mechanisms of land ownership turn out to be very important determinants of how people live and govern themselves. And the author spares no effort to move from the Middle Ages to today, from the wilds of Indonesia to Wall Street, or from history to economics. But I found the book to be often tedious in providing excruciating details. Still, if you like sweeping historical analysis and are not afraid of a digression of twenty (such as slave ownership in the Caribbeans) you will be rewarded by gems such as the distribution of land in various British colonies (lands stolen from the original inhabitants, but that’s another matter entirely) and how General MacArthur’s military government forces land redistribution in Japan after WWII.

 

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