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“[An] elegantly layered exploration of Europe’s past and future . . . a multifaceted masterpiece.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A lovely, personal journey around the Adriatic, in which Robert Kaplan revisits places and peoples he first encountered decades ago.”—Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker
In this insightful travelogue, Robert D. Kaplan, geopolitical expert and bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts and The Revenge of Geography, turns his perceptive eye to a region that for centuries has been a meeting point of cultures, trade, and ideas. He undertakes a journey around the Adriatic Sea, through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece, to reveal that far more is happening in the region than most news stories let on. Often overlooked, the Adriatic is in fact at the center of the most significant challenges of our time, including the rise of populist politics, the refugee crisis, and battles over the control of energy resources. And it is once again becoming a global trading hub that will determine Europe’s relationship with the rest of the world as China and Russia compete for dominance in its ports.
Kaplan explores how the region has changed over his three decades of observing it as a journalist. He finds that to understand both the historical and contemporary Adriatic is to gain a window on the future of Europe as a whole, and he unearths a stark truth: The era of populism is an epiphenomenon—a symptom of the age of nationalism coming to an end. Instead, the continent is returning to alignments of the early modern era as distinctions between East and West meet and break down within the Adriatic countries and ultimately throughout Europe.
With a brilliant cross-pollination of history, literature, art, architecture, and current events, in Adriatic, Kaplan demonstrates that this unique region that exists at the intersection of civilizations holds revelatory truths for the future of global affairs.
About the Author
Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of twenty books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including Adriatic, The Good American, The Revenge of Geography, Asia’s Cauldron, Monsoon, The 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 U.S. Navy’s Executive Panel. Foreign Policy magazine twice named him one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”
“An excellent exploration of the Adriatic’s intriguing geographic and intellectual landscapes . . . The historical scope of Kaplan’s canvas is vast, yet he works hard to bring to it the fruits of modern historical scholarship. That is rare among popular authors, and deserves much praise.”—The New York Times
“Kaplan is one of the leading geopolitical thinkers of our age. . . . Scattered throughout the narrative are gems of historical and geopolitical insight.”—New York Journal of Books
“[Kaplan] is America’s geopolitical star. . . . For more than a decade, he has used his keen analytical skills to explain the world’s power relationships.”—The American Spectator
“[An] elegantly layered exploration of Europe’s past and future . . . Like the best European travelogues—the wandering, inquisitive weavings of Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941) or Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Between the Woods and the Water (1986)—Adriatic mimics the layered complexity of its subject. This is a multifaceted masterpiece, a glittering excavation of the glories and rubbish heaps of Europe’s past, a meditation on history and the inner journey of traveling with books in mind, a traveler’s elegy for paths taken and not taken, and a conditionally hopeful reflection on Europe’s emerging future.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A marvelous mix of history, literature, atmospherics, and personal insight . . . [Kaplan] travels to learn rather than to simply confirm, which makes him the ideal guide for readers interested in expanding their understanding rather than reinforcing their assumptions. . . . Europe is back, and Kaplan’s erudite and humane study offers an exemplary guide to it.”—The National Interest
“Reading his book leaves one wanting to read it all over again while retracing the steps of his voyage. His palpable thirst for knowledge about human cultures and his tireless effort to wrest new insights from a life of travel and reading are exemplary.”—The Dispatch
“Part travelogue, part geopolitical study, this freewheeling book examines the kaleidoscopic histories and cultures of the countries fringing the Adriatic Sea.”—The New Yorker
“A lovely, personal journey around the Adriatic, in which Robert D. Kaplan revisits places and peoples he first encountered decades ago—explaining a region that while often overlooked, offers clues about Europe’s past, present and future.”—Peter Frankopan, author of Silk Roads
“Riveting . . . [an] insightful take on the stormy history and geopolitics of nations bordering the Adriatic.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Kaplan serves up his trademark mix of grand geopolitical themes and evocative sightseeing . . . in prose that brings to mind a freewheeling, movable seminar.”—Publishers Weekly