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Jo Guldi

May 3, 2022

The Long Land War

The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights

Yale University Press 2022

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: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights (Yale UP, 2022) 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.

Jo Guldi is associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University, where she teaches courses on the history of Britain, the British Empire, modern development policy, and property law. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State and (with David Armitage) The History Manifesto and lives in Richardson, Texas. Twitter. Website.

Brian Hamilton is Chair of the Department of History and Social Science at Deerfield Academy. Twitter. Website.

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