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Explaining the Pull of the World's 'Unruly Places'

Alastair Bonnett on the intersection of place, identity, and imagination.  
Alastair Bonnett writes about the Dionysiou monastery in Mount Athos, Greece in "Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies."
Alastair Bonnett writes about the Dionysiou monastery in Mount Athos, Greece in "Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies."vlas2000/Shutterstock.com

Earlier this month, Newcastle University professor Alastair Bonnett released Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies, cataloging dozens of different locations where one can still manage to jump off the map of the known world. His work also makes a case for leaving some places on the planet permanently unmapped.

More than a depiction of history and environment, Bonnett explores the social meaning of each "unruly" destination and the paradoxes that traveling to these places raise. He concludes, “Unruly places have the power to disrupt our expectations and to re-enchant geography. They force us to realize how many basic human motivations—such as the need for freedom, escape, and creativity—are bound up with place. From Sandy Island to Stacey’s Lane, we have seen how people pour their hopes and fears into place.”