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Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition Paperback – January 4, 2011
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Because he's addressing such significant issues within a vast span of time, Diamond can occasionally speak too briefly and assume too much, and at times his shorthand remarks may cause careful readers to raise an eyebrow. But in general, Diamond provides fine and well-reasoned historical examples, making the case that many times, economic and environmental concerns are one and the same. With Collapse, Diamond hopes to jog our collective memory to keep us from falling for false analogies or forgetting prior experiences, and thereby save us from potential devastations to come. While it might seem a stretch to use medieval Greenland and the Maya to convince a skeptic about the seriousness of global warming, it's exactly this type of cross-referencing that makes Collapse so compelling. --Jennifer Buckendorff --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
His accounts of various human communities draw on real data from a wide variety of academic fields, including isotope analysis, pollen analysis, tree-ring analysis, seismology, agronomy, archaeology, sociology, and even the history of religion. His explanations of each of these disciplines are lucid without oversimplification. But, the strength of the book comes from the the way he combines results from all these fields to create straightforward narratives of what might have happened as various communities rose and fell.
If I were I high school "social studies" teacher I would be talking to my principal today, saying "I want to put together an honors-level geography course and I want to use this as the textbook."
I do have one criticism. The subject matter of the book is tremendously consequential to people alive today, and hopefully "policy wonks" in governments will study the book and take it seriously. But, the title is a bit inflammatory. What's more, Prof. Diamond makes sure to explain the significance for the United States of his accounts of the demise of various ancient communities. Some of these explanations extrapolate from ancient situations to modern in a way that isn't quite as solid as the rest of the book. Diamond's extrapolations are very cleary marked as such. However, I am still afraid that they, combined with the title, will provide an excuse for people to dismiss the book as a "pro-environment anti-business" ideological polemic. That would be unfortunate, because it is actually balanced and nuanced in its explanation of the human condition.
In one of Jared Diamond's earlier books, Guns, Germs and Steel, he explored the role of man's natural environment in shaping the unique nature of the human societies that emerged in different regions of the world. It was backed by a prodigious body of research spanning anthropology, physiology, botany, archeology, animal behavior and climatology, to name only a few fields. Although his conclusions were satisfying and plausible, the subjects were too remote in time to garner more than a smile and a nod of the head. The paucity of detailed evidence regarding the biologic emergence of man, and man's development of agriculture, animal domestication and civilization, dooms Dr. Diamond's conclusions on those subjects to the realm of conjecture.
Now we are presented with the other side of the equation: the role of man's behavior in shaping the environments in which he lives.Read more ›
"Collapse" takes the reader on a dizzying historical and global tour. The chapters weave in and out of modern, ancient, and medieval worlds. Along the way Diamond extrapolates which behaviors have threatened (or arguably are currently threatening) a significant inexorable decline in a particular society's population. By juxtaposing past and present societies he hopes to reveal the simularities between societies that no longer exist and the trends of the world today. The book surreptitously asks whether our current world is threatened by a global collapse.
Diamond uses a "five-point framework" to analyze various societies.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jared Diamond combines numerous fields in his exploration for why societies collapse. The chapters on the Greenland Norse and Hispaniola contrasting Haiti and Dominican Republic... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Jonathan Sherr
The print is miniscule and it's too academic for readers new to the topicPublished 8 days ago by SSpring
Excellent. Author explains what caused some civilizations to collapse in the past. In a number of cases, the civilization would use up renewable resources at a rate that... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Gino Lee
Excellent analysis of the past. Hope it would inspire our politicians if they ever come to read this book.Published 18 days ago by Jacques Smeets
Well researched, well written, held my attention all the way through.Published 27 days ago by Miles Smith
I am rally happy to havet fond this book.
Lots of news to me. Nice.