A vital and deeply personal exploration of a historically volatile region that is once again a global crossroads—the Adriatic Sea, including Italy, Croatia, Albania, and Greece—and what that says about the future, from the bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts and The Revenge of Geography.

In this insightful travelogue, geopolitical expert Robert D. Kaplan turns his perceptive eye to the Adriatic Sea, a region that has always been a crossroads in trade, culture, and ideas. Kaplan undertakes a journey through Italy and the Balkan countries lining the Adriatic to reveal much more to the region than news stories about resurgent populism or the refugee crisis let on. As he travels, the stark truth emerges that the age of populism is merely an epiphenomenon--a swan song for the age of nationalism itself--and that the future of Europe lies in a different direction entirely as he observes a breaking down of the distinctions between East and West, a return to alignments of an earlier era.

Traveling the coastline from Italy to Slovenia and Croatia, to Montenegro to Albania and to Greece, he engages in perceptive cultural criticism and an urgent study of Europe as a whole with a close reading of his personal library and examination of his own career, contrasting his visits to the Adriatic region through the years. He finds clues to what the future may hold in history as he reflects on contemporary issues like the refugee crisis, the return of populist nationalism, battles over the control of fossil fuel resources, and how the Adriatic will once again be a global trading hub. With a cross-pollination of history, literature, art, architecture, and current events, Kaplan demonstrates how Europe is distilled within the geography of the Adriatic, an often-overlooked region rich with answers and insights about the fate of the continent.