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

  • By: Simon Winchester
  • Narrated by: Simon Winchester
  • Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Non-member price: $22.03

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author Simon Winchester, a human history of land around the world: who mapped it, owned it, stole it, cared for it, fought for it and gave it back. 

In 1889, thousands of hopeful people raced southward from the Kansas state line and westward from the Arkansas boundary to stake claims on the thousands of acres of unclaimed pastures and meadows. Across the 20th century, water was dammed and drained in Holland so that a new province, Flevoland, rose up, unchartered and requiring new thinking. In 1850, California legislated the theft of land from Native Americans. An apology came in 2019 from the governor, but what of the call for reparations or return? What of government confiscation of land in India, or questions of fairness when it comes to New Zealand’s Maori population and the legacy of settlers?

The ownership of land has always been complicated, opaque and more than a little anarchic when viewed from the outside. In this book, Simon Winchester explores the the stewardship of land, the ways it is delineated and changes hands, the great disputes and the questions of restoration - particularly in the light of climate change and colonialist reparation.

A global study, this is an exquisite exploration of what the ownership of land might really mean - not in dry-as-dust legal terms, but for the people who live on it.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Simon Winchester (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

‘Winchester makes a convincing case.... Succeeds resoundingly in making us think more deeply about the everyday objects we take for granted. It challenges us to reflect on our progress as humans and what has made it possible. It is interesting, informative, exciting and emotional, and for anyone with even some curiosity about what makes the machines of our world work as well as they do, it’s a real treat." (New York Times)

"Simon Winchester’s new book is a tale of many triumphs.... His delight in words cannot be bridled, so that even 'Exactly,' which is, after all, a nonfiction treatment of technology, brims with amusing and rare nouns such as bagatelle, bijoux, cynosure, seraglio and susurrus. These whir smoothly alongside the argot of the machine shop. Mr. Winchester covers more than 200 years of fine-tuning in this work, and corrals a large cast of eccentric individuals." (Wall Street Journal)

"An ingenious argument that the dazzling advances that produced the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, and the revolutions that followed owe their success to a single engineering element: precision. An enthusiastic popular-science tour of technological marvels...readers will love the ride." (Kirkus

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Profile Image for Alistair Kelman
  • Alistair Kelman
  • 07-02-2021

The two types of hunger

Sometimes, just to get by, all you want is a snack, a brief mouthful to quell the hunger before doing other things. Fast food, the grabbed sandwich, the toasted bun fills this need. But other times you want to enjoy conversation, company, breaking bread, sharing a time to enjoy living in a community. This is a time for slow food, lingering over a small plate, tasting every morsel and bite, reflecting on the joy of being alive.

This is an audiobook for the spring. Relax in the warm sunlight and listen to “Land” which is “slow food for the mind” - a long and loving and thought provoking experience which, in its audible format as read by its author, is balm for the soul. Instead of a sixty or ninety minute drama, all too present in Netflix and its ilk, this is thirteen hours and forty six minutes of a reflection on the past and future of our world, crystallized in lyrical prose. It is the perfect antidote to lockdown blues, a way of transporting yourself away from just existing to seeing a bigger picture, a world that changes, a society that evolves, a threat that looms and a hope that that threat can be overcome.


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  • Seayeaitch
  • 07-02-2021

Superb.....

Beautifully written and narrated by Simon Winchester,Land , important to us all but misunderstood by the majority. Winchester weaves an interesting plethora of facts based upon his and a wide variety of others opinions resulting in an excellent read or listen, excellent.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.