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The Wilson Quarterly

The Wilson Quarterly is a news magazine of the world of ideas. Edited for an educated lay audience, The Wilson Quarterly explains and summarizes developments in serious research on politics, the environment, the social sciences, foreign affairs, history, the arts, TV and the press, economics, science and technology. The format includes major essays and reviews of current books and periodicals.

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Geography Rules - By Fred A


I was so glad to see the two articles in the Summer 2009 issue; one by S. Frederick Starr on Central Asia and the other by Max Byrd on Maps. It struck me how appropriate to have these two seemingly different articles placed side-by-side in your issue, for they are both about geography, real or imagined. Early in my now seventeen years experience in Russia, I realized that a people are formed by two things: religion and geography, and in the end it is geography. That has been Russia's conundrum forever. Starr's article on Central Asia focuses on the advantages, disadvantages, and maybe future renewed social and economic potential of Central Asia, that crossroads of a vibrant past history. Byrd's article was an enlightenment, especially about the role of maps in the child's need for spatial definition and how we carry that with us. Those of us who don't grow up and who continue to expand our maps are liable to be great adventurers, or maybe to start wars or wave a flag in support of one. There is a lot to learn in these two articles. Thanks. Frederick R. Andresen, author of “Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia.”