Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World

by Simon Winchester


$26.99 $29.99 Save 10% Current price is $26.99, Original price is $29.99. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


The author of The Professor and the Madman and The Perfectionists explores the notion of property—our proprietary relationship with the land—through human history, how it has shaped us and what it will mean for our future.

Land—whether meadow or mountainside, desert or peat bog, parkland or pasture, suburb or city—is central to our existence. It quite literally underlies and underpins everything. Employing the keen intellect, insatiable curiosity, and narrative verve that are the foundations of his previous bestselling works, Simon Winchester examines what we human beings are doing—and have done—with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet.

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World examines in depth how we acquire land, how we steward it, how and why we fight over it, and finally, how we can, and on occasion do, come to share it. Ultimately, Winchester confronts the essential question: who actually owns the world’s land—and why does it matter? 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062938336
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/19/2021
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 9,406
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006, Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He resides in western Massachusetts.


New York; Massachusetts; Scotland

Date of Birth:

September 28, 1944

Place of Birth:

London, England


M.A., St. Catherine¿s College, Oxford, 1966

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii

Prologue: Uncommon Ground 1

1 Transaction 3

2 Foundation 13

3 Population 23

4 Exploitation 35

5 Demarcation, Eviction, Possession 41

6 Exploration 49

Part I Borderlines 55

1 When the Worm Forgave the Plough 57

2 The Size of All the Earth 75

3 Just Where Is Everything 91

4 At the Edges of Worlds 111

5 Drawing a Distinction 143

Part II Annals of Acquisition 155

1 Up and Out and On the Level 157

2 Islands of the Dammed 163

3 Red Territory 187

4 The Land and the Gentry 247

Part III Stewardship 263

1 The Tragedies of Improvement 265

2 The Accumulators of Space 301

3 Going Nowhere and Everywhere 331

4 The World Made Wild Again 349

5 On Wisdom, Down Under 365

6 Parks, Recreation, and Plutonium 383

Part IV Battlegrounds 405

1 The Dreary Steeples 407

2 The Unholy Land 413

3 Death on the Rich Black Earth 439

4 Concentration and Confiscation 465

Part V Annals of Restoration 497

1 Maori in Arcady 499

2 Strangers in the Hebrides 533

3 Bringing Africa Home 563

4 Aliens in Wonderland 581

5 Trust Is Everything 595

Epilogue: Yet Now the Land Is Drowning 613

With Great Thanks 637

A Glossary of Terms, Some Possibly Unfamiliar, Associated with Land and Its Ownership 643

Bibliography 659

Customer Reviews