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What is a country? Acclaimed travel writer and Oxford geography don Nick Middleton brings to life the origins and histories of 50 states that, lacking international recognition and United Nations membership, exist on the margins of legitimacy in the global order. From long-contested lands like Crimea and Tibet to lesser-known territories such as Africa's last colony and a European republic that enjoyed independence for a single day, Middleton presents fascinating stories of shifting borders, visionary leaders, and "forgotten" peoples. Beautifully illustrated with 50 regional maps, each country is literally die-cut out of the page, offering a distinctive tactile experience while exploring these remarkable places.