The Birth of Territory is reviewed in Theory, Culture and Society by Dennis Crow (open access). Here’s the first paragraph:
Elden deserves every accolade he receives for a remarkable book. That phrase might suffice for a review, but it would hide the erudition that sets his book apart. What is the territory of the Birth of Territory? The ostensible territory is stratified with texts, which figure “territory” as a concept and practice, or “technology” of political power. Elden is not trying to find a mere intersection or conflation of geography and political theory. Geography and political theory are intertwined with many crossroads in texts, political events, state rule, force, and economics. We have not reached the terminus of this conceptual path. Political power evolved to confine a state’s legitimate territory as a closed polygon on a map and borders on the ground; while “territory” became a foundational concept of some political theory after the fact of states’ geographic reach.
It’s a dense and difficult review, using vocabulary and concepts outside my study to reappropriate the work. In particular it brings the work into contact with Deleuze and Guattari. I did appreciate the way it read the book alongside my earlier Terror and Territory – something I’d always had in mind, but which some criticisms of The Birth of Territory seem to neglect.