Trade in your item
Get a £0.34
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Who Owns the World: The Surprising Truth about Every Piece of Land on the Planet Paperback – 29 Jan 2010

2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£11.12


Trade In this Item for up to £0.34
Trade in Who Owns the World: The Surprising Truth about Every Piece of Land on the Planet for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.34, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (29 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446581216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446581219
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a reporter, fundamentally, as was Charles Dickens. I have worked part time in the same place he did, the UK Parliament, for 31 years. I have published 3 books conventionally; Trade Wars with WH Allen, Who Owns Britain and Ireland with Canongate and Who Owns the World with Mainstream, Hachette and Random House in various editions. I wrote a book/manual on computing for the British Institute of Management called 'The Principles of Business Sytems' and I was the researcher/producer for Dr Philip Beresford's Sunday Times Book of the Rich (Weidenfeld and Nicholson)

Product Description

Paperback. Pub Date: 2010 Pages: 369 in Publisher: Grand Central Publishing In our modern world. you can IM someone in New Zealand purchase coffee beans from Timor-Leste or shop for homes in. Dubai on the the Internet. But what do we really know about the land in these countries And what do we know about our own Now this unique compilation reveals the hidden secrets about landownership in all fifty states and every country and territory on Earth. Fascinating. eye-opening. and sometimes shocking. this informative guide will change the way you look at the world. You'll discover that: Two of the largest landowners in the US are the federal government and Ted Turner80% of the American population is crammed into urban areasThe least crowded state is Alaska. with 670 acres per person. The most crowded is New Jersey. with .7 acres per person60% of America's population are property ...

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
1
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
1
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 9 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
The premise for this work is good: of all the world's land surface, who really owns all the various bits of it? Clearly land ownership is not equitably distributed; some own much more than others. This book presents reams of statistics about land ownership in just about every country and territory in the world, and most of these numbers have been well researched and are as good a set of numbers as you are likely to see, given that some countries have almost zero real data collection processes about these matters, and many more are in such a state of inner turmoil that determining who 'owns' what is a frustrating and near-meaningless endeavor.

But this book is marred by a major flaw, that of trying to impose the author's particular feelings on how land ownership should be dealt with, rather than investigating the reasons and history of how it is currently set up, and just how the world economies are very dependent on such distribution. In the first chapter, the author continuously points out that there is plenty of land for everybody, several acres for every man, woman, and child on the planet, and that if only such a equal distribution could be achieved, all the worlds troubles would go away. While it is certainly true that many of the world's wars have been over ownership of particular pieces of land, what this author misses are several facts:

1. Large portions of the world's surface, while technically marginally habitable, in reality will not support any type of heavy-density human presence.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Stephen James on 17 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So the queen owns a lot of the world not just UK. Nice to know whos land your standing on.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Divvying Up the World 9 Feb. 2010
By Patrick Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The premise for this work is good: of all the world's land surface, who really owns all the various bits of it? Clearly land ownership is not equitably distributed; some own much more than others. This book presents reams of statistics about land ownership in just about every country and territory in the world, and most of these numbers have been well researched and are as good a set of numbers as you are likely to see, given that some countries have almost zero real data collection processes about these matters, and many more are in such a state of inner turmoil that determining who 'owns' what is a frustrating and near-meaningless endeavor.

But this book is marred by a major flaw, that of trying to impose the author's particular feelings on how land ownership should be dealt with, rather than investigating the reasons and history of how it is currently set up, and just how the world economies are very dependent on such distribution. In the first chapter, the author continuously points out that there is plenty of land for everybody, several acres for every man, woman, and child on the planet, and that if only such a equal distribution could be achieved, all the worlds troubles would go away. While it is certainly true that many of the world's wars have been over ownership of particular pieces of land, what this author misses are several facts:

1. Large portions of the world's surface, while technically marginally habitable, in reality will not support any type of heavy-density human presence. Areas such as the Australian outback, the huge Artic tundra areas, large tracts of land around and in the Sahara desert, the many heavily mountainous regions of the world should all be subtracted from the available land area that is available for divvying up amongst the world's population. There are very good reasons why so much of the world's population is concentrated in relative small areas of the planet, but this book does not delve into those reasons.

2. Many areas of the world can be farmed, but the most efficient, greatest yield-producing methods for many of these areas cannot be done in small plots, but rather require large tracts that lend themselves to mechanized farming methods, or have so little vegetation that their only viable use is grazing land at many acres per cow.

3. The best pieces of land are relatively small in comparison to all the rest, and like any item in short supply, there is strong competition for such pieces. Once someone has managed to gain control of such areas, they will normally do all they can to maintain that control. As the author presents no concrete plan for just how his 'equitable' distribution of land could be achieved, his harping about just how much of the world is controlled by so few comes across as a very irritating whine.

This same author viewpoint leads him to make some claims, that while they are 'technically' true, are absurd on their face, such as the claim that Queen Elizabeth II personally holds close to a sixth of world's land. Most of this is actually claimed by the British Crown, not the Queen personally, and if the Crown ever tried to actually invoke that claim (such as all of Australia) and kick all the current inhabitants out, there would be instant and massive opposition. Of much more interest was the author's detailing of what the Queen actually holds in her own name (not the Crown's), and this list is quite impressive, truly showing her to actually be one of largest landholders in the world. If all of this book had been like this one area, it would have truly been a very useful and enlightening look at who really owns the world. As it is, the only really useful items here are the statistics he has compiled on all the various countries listing area, population, and general form of land ownership, as this data is not easily findable all collected in one place.

Note also that this is not a book for casual reading; other than the first chapter the balance is composed of data listings for each country (or, for the US, each state) followed by a short half page set of tidbits about the area, some of which, while interesting, have nothing to do with land ownership.

Recommended only for statistical use.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Very Educational! 28 Jan. 2010
By My Four Monkeys blog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ever wonder who owns the world? Do you or someone you know enjoy reading about history and little known facts? Then you would definitely be interested in a new book I received from Hachette Books. It's entitled Who Owns the World: The Surprising Truth About Every Piece of Land on the Planet and it's 384 pages of interesting and sometimes surprising facts from author Kevin Cahill.

This is a pretty thick book, but like many resource books, I don't think it is necessarily meant to be read from cover to cover. It features listings of all the major countries in the world, and all the states of the United States. Each listing contains facts and figures about land ownership, but also background information about how the piece of land was originally procured or confiscated. I truly found the background information very interesting. Especially when it came to the states of the U.S., it was very educational to find out just how the government came to own these pieces of land. I will be using this book to go along with some of our homeschooling curriculum. I was shocked to discover how much property that Queen Elizabeth II owned! There are so many British commonwealths and territories all around the world!

I also enjoyed comparing and contrasting the different countries. I know.... I'm a nerd. :) For instance, Alaska is about the size of the country of Iran (every country or territory listed also has a the country closest in size listed with it for easy comparison) and has about 670 acres per person. Iran on the other hand has only has 6 acres per person. Some of these countries are horribly crowded, like India with only 0.7 acres per person! In a country that large, can you imagine such a large population? There were so many places that I had never heard of, so I pulled out the globe and went to work figuring out where these countries and islands were. I spent a lot of time going back and forth throughout the book looking at listings, and reading about the history behind it all.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Almanac with a twist 22 Jan. 2010
By Michelle Van Loon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Who Owns The World? The Surprising Truth About Every Piece of Land on The Planet is an encyclopedic accounting of land ownership on our globe. It is packed with fascinating facts: Did you know that Queen Elizabeth owns 1/6th of all the land on earth? Did you know that the largest private landowner in the U.S. is Ted Turner, who owns 1,800,000 acres of land? (Yes, all those zeroes belong in that number.) Have you ever heard of the British Indian Ocean Territory, a land area of 14,720 acres which is now believed to be used as a prison for those captured in the war on terror?

Though most of the 369-page paperback is devoted to information about who controls every square inch of land, authors Kevin Cahill and Rob McMahon explain their purpose in putting this book together:
This book asserts that the main cause of most remaining poverty in the world is an excess of landownership in too few hands. This book will also assert that private ownership of a very small amount on land - one-tenth of an urban acre or an acre or two of rural land - granted to every person on the planet has the potential to, and, I believe, begin ending poverty on a global basis. The book will go further and reassert that the right to the direct ownership of land is a fundamental human right.

After a 60-page introduction that unpacks these assertions, the remainder of the book surveys every country of the world, giving information about population, size, gross national income, percentage of land held by private owners, a line or two about the country's history, and an explanation of how the country is owned.

The book doesn't offer solutions to the inequalities presented in the book (a handful of kings, queens, sheiks, religious institutions and individuals control most of the land on earth) or do much to tackle the dicey issues of political and/or ethnic identity that have shaped most modern nation-states. But then again, it isn't meant to do so. Who Owns The World? tells a compelling, unsettling story with stats, and is an interesting reference tool for students and those interested in international politics.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The statistics were interesting 22 Feb. 2010
By Debbie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Who Owns the World" was mainly a statistical reference book, though definitely one with an agenda behind it. I found the actual statistics very interesting. I've heard things like "China is terribly crowded" but now I know how it compares to other countries in terms of population in urban areas versus rural areas and so on.

I wasn't very impressed with Part One, which was only 52 pages long. The author's premise was that poverty can be wiped out if everyone in the world was given ownership of even a small piece of land. He then shows how rich people (who, ironically, made their riches from ideas and businesses) own a lot of land. The problem is that not every piece of land is created equal. Giving someone a remote bit of wasteland wouldn't be helpful. Not to mention that I've known a millionaire who owned an old house on a small bit of urban property (as in, he didn't own a lot of land), poor people (including farmers) who owned land, and poor people who inherited land and sold it for quick money (which they promptly wasted) or had to sell it due to debts. Land ownership doesn't automatically lead to riches.

Another problem I had with Part One was that he tended to compare apples to oranges to pears. I realize the difficulty he had in getting precise numbers, and I appreciate that he did usually state what, precisely, he was including in his numbers. However, he had a whole section comparing monarchs to each other with some numbers being what the monarch owned privately plus what the government owned "in their name," others with only government-owned lands credited to them, and others credited with all of the land they ruled over whether they technically own it or not. The various religions were also compared as to total wealth (based on the value of the land containing churches, religious hospitals, etc.) irregardless of the religions different administrative structures. A religion can't own land, only people, so I didn't get what the comparison was supposed to prove.

I found Part Two very interesting though I was still occasionally exasperated by comments the author made. (For example, he says land in America is too expensive, then lists the sale prices of the most expensive mansions in the USA to 'prove' his point. Um, land is pretty cheap. Even land with a house can be reasonable. We don't all have to own lavish mansions, you know.)

Part Two covered the statistics on United States in detail, state by state, and then gave the statistics for each country in the world. The statistics for the states included: population, population of the capital, size in acres, acres per person, number of houses, houses owned, houses rented, and acres of developed land. The statistics for countries included: population, size in acres, population, acres per person, GNI, World Bank ranking, and percentage urban population. It also gave the background history and how the state/country is owned (including urban vs farmland vs forestland statistics for the USA states) in a text description. It would have been helpful to have some graphs for each state or country to put everything in perspective, but the information was still interesting.

The book was easy to read. If you like statistical comparison books and are interested in this topic, then you'll probably enjoy this book.

This book was a free review copy sent to me by the publisher.

Reviewed by Debbie from Different Time Different Place Book Reviews
(differenttimedifferentplace. blogspot. com)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Covering the relationship between landownership and poverty 17 May 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
WHO OWNS THE WORLD THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT EVERY PIECE OF LAND ON THE PLANET is a 'must' for any general lending library, covering the relationship between landownership and poverty and providing the results of the first landownership survey of all every territory and country in the world. Real estate figures and facts cover a range of cultural and modern issues and provide a different way of viewing land ownership and real state.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback