An Atlas of Extinct Countries: The Remarkable (and Occasionally Ridiculous) Stories of 48 Nations that Fell off the Map
Countries die. Sometimes it’s murder, sometimes it’s by accident, and sometimes it’s because they were so ludicrous they didn’t deserve to exist in the first place. Occasionally they explode violently. A few slip away almost unnoticed. Often the cause of death is either ‘got too greedy’ or ‘Napoleon turned up’. Now and then they just hold a referendum and vote themselves out of existence.
This is an atlas of nations that fell off the map. The polite way of writing an obituary is: dwell on the good bits, gloss over the embarrassing stuff. This book fails to do that. And that is mainly because most of these dead nations (and a lot of the ones that are still alive) are so weird or borderline nonsensical that it’s impossible to skip the embarrassing stuff.
The life stories of the sadly deceased involve a catalogue of chancers, racists, racist chancers, conmen, madmen, people trying to get out of paying tax, mistakes, lies, stupid schemes and General Idiocy. Because of this – and because treating nation states with too much respect is the entire problem with pretty much everything – these accounts are not fussed about adding to all the earnest flag saluting in the world, however nice some of the flags are.
About the Author
Gideon Defoe is the author of The Pirates! book series, and wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated Aardman film The Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists. He has also written about how animals have sex and penned a computer game tie-in novel because he is bad at staying on brand.
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