Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed, Part 537

Front Cover
Viking Penguin, 2005 - History - 575 pages
1525 Reviews

In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?

As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society's apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

Look out for Jared Diamond's latest book, The World Until Yesterday, coming from Viking in January 2013.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Well researched and logical. - Goodreads
So difficult to read... - Goodreads
An amazing overview. - Goodreads
I found the writing slow and tedious. - Goodreads
Very interesting and educational value. - Goodreads
Great dinner party factoids. - Goodreads

Review: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

User Review  - Kristen-Marie Freeman - Goodreads

It took me *for-ever* to get through this book. However, now that I have, I liked it. Diamond's research scope is truly impressive, and, even if he tends to go into too much detail, to the point of ... Read full review

Review: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

User Review  - Joshua Sticker - Goodreads

Puts our planets level of consumption into perspective! Read full review


List of Maps
Under Montanas Big Sky
Twilight at Easter

26 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his scientific career in physiology and expanded into evolutionary biology and biogeography. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Among Dr. Diamond's many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by Rockefeller University. He has published more than two hundred articles and his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.