Cover: Once Within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500, from Harvard University PressCover: Once Within Borders in HARDCOVER

Once Within Borders

Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500

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Product Details


$29.95 • £23.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674059788

Publication Date: 10/17/2016


416 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

16 halftones

Belknap Press


In this brilliant and sweeping narrative, Maier shows how, beginning in the seventeenth century, sovereignty and territory became intertwined as states built borders, reorganized systems of labor and capital, and forged domains of law and authority… Maier finds today’s world awash in fast-changing and deeply conflicting ideas about territory. The interdependence of economies and the emergence of cyberspace seem to have reduced the salience of physical territorial control and weakened traditional notions of sovereignty and citizenship. But if Maier is correct, territory will continue to claim an important place in the human imagination.—G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

Charles Maier ask[s] us to consider afresh the commonplace intellectual and experiential twinning of history and geography, of time and space, and by doing so open[s] up compelling new avenues for historical, geographical and social-scientific inquiry… A stimulating analysis of the history of territory as a concept.—Robert Mayhew, The Times Literary Supplement

It’s rare to find insightful contemporary political commentary in what is primarily a history book. Yet this tome could hardly be more timely. For anyone keen to understand the mass movements that fuelled everything from the EU referendum result to Trump’s election victory, you could do far worse than have a flick through Once Within Borders, exploring how the tinderbox where these particular fires caught ablaze came into existence.—Chris Fitch, Geographical

Maier’s book is a timely reminder that borders go back much farther than debates about border walls and hard borders… Maier shows how borders contributed to the creation of polities and our ideas about them, including sovereignty, in a sweeping review of the past 500 years of western history.—Krisztina Csortea, International Affairs

Charles Maier’s Once Within Borders is a splendid account of the changing notions of territory over the past five centuries. Maier is among the most distinguished living historians and this timely book has been years in the making… He shows how changing geopolitics, the advent of commercial society, rise of industrial technology and development of new techniques of governance impinged upon evolving the notions of territory.—Srinath Raghavan, Mint

Charles Maier’s new and brilliantly insightful book is a history of how political borders came to be constructed, contested and—or so it appeared—effaced, only to revive with a vengeance. Here is a new and subtle geopolitics for the post-global era of walls and barbed wire.—Niall Ferguson, author of Kissinger, 1923–1968

No other historian of our present age could better this scholarly discourse upon states, borders, sovereignty, and geographic space in modern, post-1500 Europe, America, and the world. Professor Maier’s erudition results in a fabulous, original work on what land and sea borders have meant, and still do mean, to governments and peoples, and to state and non-state actors. His easy discussion with some of the greatest European and American public thinkers, geopoliticians, historians, and philosophers is breathtaking.—Paul Kennedy, author of Engineers of Victory

A brilliant synthesis of a wealth of empirical material about the birth and development of what is conventionally considered to be modernity.—Geoff Eley, author of Nazism as Fascism

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