New Book: Jo Guldi, The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights (2022). Overview below:
A definitive history of ideas about land redistribution, allied political movements, and their varied consequences around the world
“An epic work of breathtaking scope and moral power, The Long Land War offers the definitive account of the rise and fall of land rights around the world over the last 150 years.” —Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Jo Guldi tells the story of a global struggle to bring food, water, and shelter to all. Land is shown to be a central motor of politics in the twentieth century: the basis of movements for giving reparations to formerly colonized people, protests to limit the rent paid by urban tenants, intellectual battles among development analysts, and the capture of land by squatters taking matters into their own hands. The book describes the results of state-engineered “land reform” policies beginning in Ireland in 1881 until U.S.-led interests and the World Bank effectively killed them off in 1974.
The Long Land War provides a definitive narrative of land redistribution alongside an unflinching critique of its failures, set against the background of the rise and fall of nationalism, communism, internationalism, information technology, and free-market economics. In considering how we could make the earth livable for all, she works out the important relationship between property ownership and justice on a changing planet.
-Editor’s Note: I just finished reading a number of chapters of the book and can recommend this book as a book that will force you to think though things even though I don’t think readers will necessarily agree with all of the book’s arguments or sources of content given the ambitions of the book. In other words, it is interesting with lots of things that U.S. readers will likely find as “new” and worth thinking through even if there are parts of the book that annoyed me–for being too dogmatic/one-sided–as well.