Anyone who is planning on carrying out research in South Asia or indeed anyone who simply wishes to understand more about this cultural heartland should read this book.
It shows how geological movements moulded the land of this unique cradle and how they still impact on it.
Discussions are woven around the three major forces of integration. These are 'identitive' forces - bonds of language, ethnicity, religion or ideology; 'utilitarian' forces – bonds of common material interest, and 'coercion' – the institutional use or threat of physical violence. By studying these forces, Professor Chapman shows how the organization of territory has been central to the region's historic, cultural, linguistic and economic development.
In addition to the material on the Northwest frontier, Afghanistan and Kashmir which was added for the second edition, the Northeastern borderlands are also now examined in this fully revised third edition. The current geopolitical state of the region is completely updated and greatly enhanced.
Reviews: ‘…based on more than a quarter-of-a-century of research there, he provides both a focused examination of South Asian geopolitics and a highly readable introduction to the political geography of a key geopolitical region.’
Ron J. Johnston, Bristol University, UK
‘…offers a sweeping and highly original survey of the history of what are now the republics of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh…What makes this book of particular interest is its consistent and sophisticated concern with the working or absence of the major forces – identitive, utilitarian, and coercive – making for regional integration during various periods of history and at scales of analysis ranging from the local to the global.’
Joseph Schwartzberg, University of Minnesota, USA
‘Chapman offers a long-term historical view of the civilisation in which the two concerns of geopolitics - space and power - have to be understood…[he] offers to a mixed audience of social scientists and interested laymen a comprehensive and intelligible view of South Asian civilisation. This is a daunting task but Chapman’s selection is economical and effective…Chapman pulls off his ambitious project, producing a book which should be useful for geographers, historians and students of politics.’
Times Higher Education Supplement
‘This is a remarkable book for the simple reason that the complex disciplines of religion, history, geography, politics, economics and international relations have been finely distilled…to provide a lucid account of the life and times of S. Asia.’
Contemporary South Asia
‘Part three contains an extremely perceptive analysis of the process leading to the independence and separation of India and Pakistan in 1947, and the later separation of Bangladesh…This is an erudite and very readable account of the historical and recent geopolitics of South Asia…’
‘The whole story is skilfully told, interweaving discussions of society, culture…in different places in the subcontinent at different times…To sum up , the focus is geopolitical, but time and scholarship mean that this is a geopolitics which is richly informed by religion, culture, language, technological change, physical geography and history.’
‘…this book is to be welcomed for its enthusiasm in encouraging students to grapple with the complexity of one of the world's most neglected geopolitical regions.’
‘Chapman writes with clarity and feeling, and his account of the geopolitics of South Asia over the last couple of millennia is eminently readable as well as informative.’
The Geographical Journal
‘…conveys Chapman's passion for South Asia…’
Progress in Human Geography
‘Chapman's book is a learned and enthusiastic review of the geopolitics of South Asia “from early empires to the nuclear age”…Chapman has written a tale of South Asia that treats the complex societies and the affective links that they generate in a nuanced and sensitive manner.’
Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography
‘The Geopolitics of South Asia is a thoroughly readable account of the geography and history of this region, attaining an impressive balance between a variety of disciplinary approaches…this book unquestionably succeeds in condensing an extensive and extremely complex geopolitical history into an accessible and informative text that admirably avoids the dry, laborious style of many comparable academic textbooks. Without question, the book will provide useful introductory reading for students of Area Studies, whether at under- or post-graduate levels.’
South Asia Research
'…Chapman's book is a welcome and valuable presence. It reminds us of the power of regional studies in connecting human (social, cultural, political) and physical (topographical, climactic) processes, while providing a genuinely impressive introduction to South Asia's shifting political geographies. It may be the product of nearly forty years of work in South Asia but its contemporary relevance remains clear.'
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society