Geography in Human Destiny

By Roderick Peattie, Ph.D.
IT seems that, while we ordinary general readers have been dreaming elsewhere, some remarkably swift and far-reaching developments have been going on in the science of geography, or at any rate in the profession. Once a definable, teachable subject with more or less understood boundaries, this science has now become a philosophy, or rather a congeries of philosophies. Its material no longer begins and ends with the ostensible solid earth as known to cartographers and climatologists. Geography today has to do with the earth’s inhabitants as illuminated (and obfuscated) by history, by sociology, by anthropology, even by psychology and imaginative literature. Dr. Peattie’s chapters give, in the aggregate, an excellent idea of recent specialized developments in the battle of the geographic schools, each of which seems to be saying to the others’ contributions, ‘That is all very interesting, but it isn’t geography.’ How far the argument takes him from the science as we were brought up to conceive it you can gauge from one of his chapter titles, ‘National Conservation Is Socialism.’ Of preëminent interest in these days are his discussions of geographical factors as predeterminants of such phenomena as nationalistic competition, autarchy, war, and Hitlerism.
W. F.