Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World

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? 

Title:Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062938350
Format Type:

    Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. W...

  • Steve Donoghue

    If you've read any Simon Winchester, you know what to expect in this terrific book: a natural storyteller's ease, a thousand great anecdotes, some very interesting, challenging insights, and maybe a c...

  • James Bechtel

    Maybe a 3.5 stars. Not really sure I can give it four stars. Surprisingly, the book's thesis about the significance of land - the dispossession of indigenous land and the ownership of settler peoples ...

  • Zeb Kantrowitz

    This book has two parts, the first part is geological and discusses the creation of land and the type of land and the beginning of man to harness it as opposed to just living off what exists. The bigg...

  • Ben Rogers

    Important read! Enjoyed it, and learned a lot about land ownership and the unnecessary draw people have to own land. Started out strong, but got a little long-winded. 2.9/5...

  • Chris Steele

    As a geographer, I was looking forward to Winchester's popular book on land. I'm disappointed. His treatment of the theft of land from Indigenous peoples is maddening. An enormous missed opportunity, ...

  • S.

    3.5, and maybe a Simon Windhester 3.5 is a 4.0 from lesser authors. but, as third most popular review notes there are hits and misses in the various chapters. Winchester, the consummate historian of b...

  • Miguette

    Good. 3.5, But it felt like it was hurried off to the editor- not that it was badly written, but that it could have gone on to be two or three times as long and I feel that given the chance Winchester...

  • Michael Reilly

    Winchester has written over 30 nonfiction books. Most of them are big books on big topics like the Pacific Ocean or Korea or Earthquakes. He is very good at weaving together a group of interesting sto...

  • Antonia Malchik

    I've long been a Winchester fan and was looking forward to this book, but its flaws are too gaping to overlook. While his writing about Indigenous people and issues is clearly meant to be sympathetic,...