A perennially useful survey of how physical environment affects historical events, with many illustrative examples.
In studying the inescapable physical setting of history, writes the author, the geographer examines one of the strands from which history itself is woven. To illuminate the vital relationship between history and geographical conditions, W. Gordon East draws examples from ancient times to the midtwentieth century. He demonstrates that when we look at the physical conditions under which an event occurs, we find that "the particular characteristics of this setting serve not only to localise but also to influence part at least of the action." Topographical position, climate, distribution of water and minerals, the placement of routes and towns, and ease or difficulty of movement between districts and countries are among the factors which the historian must take into account.
Professor East's topics include the role of geography in international politics, the contribution of the geographer to the study of ancient civilizations, and the use of old maps as historical documents.