Hot off the press

New book published by Reaktion

Hear the Podcast interview on HistorywithJackson  


Provides a 'profound' analysis of the facts underlying the invasion of Washington's Capitol on January 6th 2021, offering a deeper context for understanding the uprising, and examining conspiracy theories and the politics of outrage.
The Bookseller

a well-written, well-structured, interesting, and informative tour d’horizon. He ranges from the increasing lack of trust in government, flaws in the electoral system, weaknesses in the constitution and the growing influence of conspiracy theories to the impact of demographic change, globalisation, deindustrialisation and social and cultural change on the political landscape of the United States. Not only based on an extensive range of sources he also puts most of his key points into their historical context….Professor Short provides a clear and detailed description of the shocking events that took place…well worthwhile reading this book
The Arbuturian
a comprehensible, lively, and biting account of the causes of this deeply complex event and Trump’s role in it. It is essential reading for anyone concerned about the state of American democracy.
Ronald H. Fritze, author of Hope and Fear: Modern Myths, Conspiracy Theories and Pseudo-History

Thoughtful study of the polarisation in the United States that led to the attack on Congress.
The Independent 
It is written in an entertaining manner which means that it should appeal to a wider audience than many political, academic books might…. an insightful read… this is a well-written, engaging book about a time that all of us should be trying our hardest to understand.

Short’s approach to a thick description of Jan. 6 treats it as the culmination of a grand narrative of change over the preceding half century.... Emphasis on the decades-broad context of Jan. 6 does not compel Short to neglect evidence showing it to have been a deliberate—if incompetently staffed—effort to overturn the election results.... his thick description is of a polity in which “governing degrades into a form of political vendetta,” which does seem to be the shape of things to come.
Inside Higher Ed
 The author explores the deep flaws in US democracy that spawned the Trumpian virus in a swamp of racial and demographic division and resurgent ethno-nationalism, but also the peculiar ego of the individual who has exploited them.... offers a searing analysis of the long and short-term factors that put a demagogue in the White House and culminated in a near fatal challenge to US democracy.
Morning Star

This highly readable study will appeal to anyone seeking to make sense of the uprising that forever changed modern American politics. A concise and incisive look at a democracy in peril.
Kirkus Review

New textbook published by Oxford University Press

New book of my urban writings 

My book on geopolitics


It is the rare book about world politics that combines a comprehensive theoretical discussion with a detailed exploration of the events and crises that are central to it. That this book does so using an original world-regional approach to organizing its information is not just an added bonus but makes this volume one simply without peer
John Agnew, UCLA
John Rennie Short has written a profound and well-illustrated introduction to the key concepts, themes, and contextual-regional issues in geopolitics. He explains not only the past key debates and classical regional concerns of geopolitics but also contemporary approaches and issues, opening perspectives that go beyond traditional state-centric territorial approaches. The book culminates in a discussion on such highly topical present-day global problems as climate change, pandemics, and the emerging hotspots and related challenges in geopolitics. This well-written and very accessible text is a rich resource that can be highly recommended to undergraduate courses in political geography, geopolitics, and political science.
Anssi Paasi, University of Oulu, Finland

This engaging, accessible, informative book offers telling insights into the geopolitical dynamics that have shaped, and continue to shape, the contemporary world. Charting a course between classical geopolitics and contemporary critical approaches, Short has put together a geopolitical tour du monde that is rich in both empirical detail and conceptual insight.
Alexander Murphy, University of Oregon

Also available online from Cambridge University Press.

Also available online from Cambridge University Press. And now available in paperback.


A highly significant work not only for cartographic studies but also for historians of nationalism. Properly wide-ranging and clearly argued, this important work deserves much attention.
Jeremy Black, author of Maps and History

This compelling new history shows how nations used the power of maps to advance their interests. Short’s wide-ranging survey spans the globe in an era of rising and falling empires, global warfare, and expanding economies. It reveals how modernizing states pictured themselves to the world with cartography.  
Max Edelson, University of Virginia

The book is an engaging discussion of the history and the histories of national atlases around the world. By using abundant visual material, the author delivers a cartographic tour-de-force to point out connections between nation-state, territory, and maps in the twentieth century. 
John Seemann, Ball State University

Short (Univ. of Maryland) explores how various aspects of national atlases—from the classic representation of physical space to the more recent theme of biopolitics—help show what the governing bodies of those nations felt was important about their citizens. His discussions of the significant roles that atlases play in nations' identities and what national atlases show about the state of the world at particular historical moments are especially interesting. It makes effective use of illustrations to explain various aspects of national atlases and is overall logically organized and readable. An excellent introduction to national atlases and their place in history. Highly recommended.

In this path-breaking, clearly written and altogether delightful read, John Rennie Short utilizes a critical-theory approach to address the production and content of national atlases as instruments of statecraft—interrogating ‘connections between nation-state, science, territory and power’.[…] With this account, which is at times perhaps too breezy and informal but always engaging, Short provides what I personally hope will become a provocative statement on national atlases.
Imago Mundi
The book clearly delivers a review of how cartography has been used to show how states see themselves in the world. Maps, charts, and figures have been used to make comprehensible truly vast amounts of societal data—data that is ever more detailed and expanding. The author, to his credit, does an excellent job in reviewing the effectiveness of the presentation of data via these techniques.
The Portolan
a close reading of national atlases produced over the twentieth century from over 40 nations, including multiple editions for several of the countries. To present a balanced perspective, the author selected national atlases from countries that ranged from quite rich to relatively poor. The author was also careful to select national atlases from both capitalist and communist countries in the review.... includes plenty of history and insights covering politics and social history of the twentieth century. Throughout the text, the author has included many colour illustrations from the pages of atlases being discussed. I highly recommend this book as a fine addition to any academic library collection focused on cartography and world political history.
ACMLA Bulletin

 Stress Testing The USA (2nd ed) Palgrave Macmillan.

Stress tests highlight a system’s weak spots. This second edition provides a stress testing of the United States by exploring in detail the background to the disasters of the War on Terror, Hurricane Katrina, the financial crisis, the Gulf oil spill and the COVID-19 epidemic. These major stresses―the country’s longest war, its biggest natural disaster, its biggest financial collapse since the Great Depression, its biggest oil spill and its worst pandemic since the influenza pandemic of 1918―tell us much about structural flaws in the United States. This book explores each of these events in detail to locate the seed of the disasters, and highlights what we have learned and not learned from these stress tests.


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