A superb collection of eminently teachable essays bound together by a common methodological framework that connects it directly to cutting-edge theoretical and empirical research across the disciplines of anthropology, archeology, history, political science, and sociology. (John Coatsworth, Columbia University)
Natural Experiments of History reaches across a wide variety of disciplines, in ways that should be accessible to just about every educated reader. It is tied together not by topic or region but by the idea that we can make useful and insightful comparisons in ways that are not casual or sloppy, but actually contribute to our understanding of human life. (Jeffry Frieden, Harvard University)
Natural Experiments of History is a short book packed with huge ideas. Its collected essays advocate how controlled experiments can be applied to the messy realities of human history, politics, culture, economics and the environment. It demonstrates productive interdisciplinary collaborations but also reveals gulfs between different cultures of academia...All of the essays in Natural Experiments of History will trigger debate. (Jon Christensen Nature 2010-03-25)
This ambitious, at times challenging, book aspires to contribute new ways of historical thinking and historical research by drawing attention, on the one hand, to the similarities between science (including social sciences) and history, and on the other, by using social sciences methods, especially statistical analysis, to study history. The editors argue that though the difference between studies of nature and human history is obvious, there are clear overlaps. They can be viewed through studying comparative history or by conducting "natural experiments of history" and analyzing the "perturbations" and their causes (exogenous or endogenous) in the involved cases. The book offers a broad array of case studies to illustrate and explain the argument, ranging from nonliterate to contemporary societies and from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to Brazil, India, and tropical Africa. The comparative methods showcased are quite versatile, from two-way to multiple-way comparisons. All the case studies are interesting and help demonstrate how, via comparative study, one society's, region's, or country's situation is better displayed and explained by juxtaposing it with other, similar ones. A useful read in macro, global history. (Q. E. Wang Choice 2010-11-01)
Natural Experiments of History is a thought-provoking collection of essays that covers an impressive array of topics and would make an excellent text for a course on comparative studies of human history." (Thomas E. Currie Cliodynamics)
Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles. His books include Guns, Germs, and Steel.
James A. Robinson is Professor of Government, Harvard University.
How could Diamond Not be fascinating? We just need to see how we can make changes. As some wise one remarked, there isn't much new - but we don't seem to learn and we always seem... Read morePublished 29 days ago by susan thomas
I expected more writing from Diamond and the articles are somewhat academic in focus, but overall I have learned more about the subject.Published 9 months ago by Anna Allen
What a tough read...be ready to dig in. Diamond is famous ( with me ) for accessibility, this is not that. Read morePublished 14 months ago by MATT
A collection of essays by elsewhere interesting authors on a topic that should be stimulating. Unfortunately for me they read like a collection of papers delivered at a conference... Read morePublished 15 months ago by D A Booth
I read anything and everything written by (or edited by, in this case) Jared Diamond. This was a very interesting and thought-provoking book on natural experiments.Published 20 months ago by Raymond Waugh
"Natural Experiments of History" is a collection of essays that shares many good qualities with the best-selling book on economics, "Freakonomics" by Steven Levitt and Stephen... Read morePublished on October 14, 2012 by Doktor Faustus
This book is part of a resurgence in comparative analysis in the historical and social sciences. Each chapter is a comparative study of its own, and together they provide many new... Read morePublished on September 8, 2011 by Michael E. Smith