The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West

The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West

The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West

The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West

Synopsis

An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette's found salvation in books and weight-lifting.Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6'7' when-while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints-his Tourette's tics escalated to nightmarish levels.Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman-and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison-taught Josh how to 'throttle' his tics into submission through strength-training.Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City's public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting-and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette's.The World's Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability- and navigate his wavering Mormon faith-to find love and create a life worth living.

Excerpt

The erstwhile position of the Western powers as the unmatched exemplars of progressive political organization, prosperity, and power projection is rapidly threatening to become an historical memory. While for a time the rise of the major Eastern powers had proceeded in parallel with continued betterment in the West, the dominant trend of global power politics since the end of the 1990s seems to point to a developing East-West divergence along zero-sum lines. The 1990s now looks to have represented an ahistorical geopolitical bubble, characterized by the default unipolarity of Western preponderance following Russia’s imperial implosion and occurring at a time before most onlookers had been struck by the full brilliance of the Asian ascendency. As the glare of that sun has loomed into proper view it has become clear that the light at its center—China—seeks to challenge the institutionalized setting of Western power as it exists beyond the borders of the Euro-Atlantic community. Added to this is the Russian recovery, which, although replete at every level with questions about its sustainability, is nonetheless a fact in the Eurasian space in the early twenty-first century. The watchword is authoritarianism, and while the Russian and Chinese stars may not be aligned in the long term, Moscow and Beijing do find themselves sharing a common short- to medium-term goal of banishing Western political and economic influence from the larger part of the Eurasian space and undermining it in its peninsular stronghold of Western Europe.

Of the two, Moscow is the more pugnacious in this enterprise, but Beijing’s effort carries with it the greater momentum. Russia’s reexpansion into the post-Soviet space is characterized by geostrategic prudence . . .

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