Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail Or Succeed

Front Cover
Penguin, 2006 - History - 575 pages
202 Reviews
In his runaway bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond brilliantly examined the circumstances that allowed Western civilizations to dominate much of the world. Now he probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to fall into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates? Using a vast historical and geographical perspective ranging from Easter Island and the Maya to Viking Greenland and modern Montana, Diamond traces a fundamental pattern of environmental catastrophe—one whose warning signs can be seen in our modern world and that we ignore at our peril. Blending the most recent scientific advances into a narrative that is impossible to put down, Collapseexposes the deepest mysteries of the past even as it offers hope for the future.

“Diamond’s most influential gift may be his ability to write about geopolitical and environmental systems in ways that don’t just educate and provoke, but entertain.” —The Seattle Times

“Extremely persuasive . . . replete with fascinating stories, a treasure trove of historical anecdotes [and] haunting statistics.” —The Boston Globe

“Extraordinary in erudition and originality, compelling in [its] ability to relate the digitized pandemonium of the present to the hushed agrarian sunrises of the far past.” —The New York Times Book Review
  

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Review: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

Ok so basically this book took me so long to read. It was interesting and I learned a lot, but it didn't manage to glue me to my seat, riveted. So it gets three stars for interesting and educational, loses two stars for unnecessarily long and not quite interesting enough. Read full review

Review: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

User Review  - Steve Stuart - Goodreads

Fields such as archaeology, biochemistry, and astronomy are similar, in that they are fairly boring (to non-specialists) when described routinely, but can be completely enthralling when described by ... Read full review

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Contents

List of Maps
1
Prehistoric Historic and Modern Societies
4
Under Montanas Big Sky
27
Twilight at Easter
79
The Pacific Ocean the Pitcairn Islands and Easter Island 8485
84
The Last People Alive Pitcairn and Henderson Islands
120
The Pitcairn Islands
122
The Ancient Ones The Anasazi and Their Neighbors
136
Opposite Paths to Success
277
Malthus in Africa Rwandas Genocide
311
One Island Two Peoples Two Histories
329
Contemporary Hispaniola
331
China Lurching Giant
358
Mining Australia
378
Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous
419
Big Businesses and the Environment
441

Anasazi Sites
142
The Maya Collapses
157
Maya Sites
161
The Viking Prelude and Fugues
178
The Viking Expansion 182183
179
Norse Greenlands Flowering
211
Norse Greenlands End
248
The World as a Polder What Does It All Mean
486
Political Trouble Spots of the Modern World
497
Acknowledgments
526
Index
561
Illustration Credits
576
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

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.

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