Book Review

The Edge of the Plain: In-depth study into why establishing boundaries can lead to increased conflict

In this fascinating collection of essays, historian James Crawford traces the history of borders and explains why they have caused so much trouble across the world

A Palestinian woman looks at a mural depicting al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Jerusalem’s old city on Israel’s controversial separation barrier between Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Picture: Getty

After the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama wrote that we’d reached “the end of history”. In his 1992 book, the American political scientist argued that the triumph of liberal democracy would recast the world order. But international boundary disputes continue to unleash ferocious social and political tensions.

Brexit was fuelled by the desire to “take back control” of Britain’s borders while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine represents Vladimir Putin’s bloody attempt to erase the border between the ...