viii Preface of the others. The civilizations and events represented in the book, while not exhaustive, were selected to highlight geographic themes and areas of study. Upon completing the book, readers should have a firm understanding of the expansive, cross-curricular study of geography—from the study of world cultures and history to politics, to the environment and Earth’s physical processes. In addition, they will have a new understanding of the relevance of geography to not only human history but also contemporary events, as well as their day-to-day lives. By presenting this history from a slightly different, geographic point of view, it is my greatest wish to instill in readers a fresh curiosity in the world around us, both past and present. Like the book, my background is a unique blend of geography, history, and storytelling. I obtained my BA in human geography from the University of Colorado-Boulder and my MFA in writing from Naropa University-Boulder, and I completed graduate-level coursework in history at the University of Texas- Arlington. I am the editorial manager of ABC-CLIO Solutions, a suite of social studies databases that is carried in high schools as well as colleges and public libraries across the United States. My passion is to not only make social studies accessible to high school learners but also spark a lifelong curiosity in learning. I wrote this book over the course of three years, carefully curating the material to provide a holistic view of geography’s role in the rise—and fall—of civilizations. Drs. Frank Thackeray and John Findling, history professors emeriti (Indiana Uni- versity Southeast), provided their editorial and historical guidance in the creation of the book and exhaustively reviewed each chapter. I would like to thank them for the gracious gift of their time, expertise, and endless encouragement.