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The Long Land War

The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights (Yale Agrarian Studies Series)

Jo Guldi


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (5/30/2022)


A definitive history of ideas about land redistribution, allied political movements, and their varied consequences around the world
“An epic work of breathtaking scope and moral power, The Long Land War offers the definitive account of the rise and fall of land rights around the world over the last 150 years.” —Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
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 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.

Praise For The Long Land War: The Global Struggle for Occupancy Rights (Yale Agrarian Studies Series)

“An epic work of breathtaking scope and moral power, The Long Land War offers the definitive account of the rise and fall of land rights around the world over the last 150 years. Jo Guldi’s global history of property tells the story of some of the most important social transformations of the 20th century, from land reform and mass evictions to the rise of corporate agriculture and resistance movements fighting for the right to land and housing. Read this amazing achievement: an intellectual tour de force, a poetics of tragedy and hope, and a call to action connecting insights from the past to the great challenges of our time.”—Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City  

“Jo Guldi invites us to consider the enduring relevance of the global movement for a just distribution of land and of its innovative technologies of information management in the face of climate change and environmental racism.”—Deborah R. Coen, author of Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale

“Jo Guldi offers a compelling, extremely innovative account of the major movements for land in the late-nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries—one that could not be more timely.”—Jess Gilbert, author of the award-winning Planning Democracy: Agrarian Intellectuals and the Intended New Deal

"It is said we can’t own the land; the land owns us. Jo Guldi's The Long Land War is a tour-de-force that sets the land into its philosophical, colonial, spiritual, and practical contexts.”—Alastair McIntosh, author of Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power  

"The Long Land War is an exhilarating read. It puts the struggle for land rights at the heart of progressive politics in the context of the climate crisis and rampant inequality. This is a profound, elegant, globe-spanning, and ultimately hopeful book."—Sunil Amrith, author of Unruly Waters

Yale University Press, 9780300256680, 600pp.

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

About the Author

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 lives in Richardson, Texas.