Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

by Jared Diamond


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780241958681
Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
Publication date: 06/28/2011

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Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Jewsbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting book relating how certain societies have collapsed quite rapidly and disastrously. It is well researched, holding a mix of many facts and figures. From these Diamond attempts to infer causes for particular disasters, and extract lessons for us today. Of course, there are numerous contributing factors. Diamond focuses on the environmental degradation as a critical contributor. After all, we are entirely dependent on our environment for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Clearly the examples are selective and the interpretations of events are inferred. Nevertheless some conclusions are obvious. Once a society becomes fragile, many triggers can precipitate the end. The fragility can be directly or indirectly ecological. Not all weakened societies fail; some pull back as the first major damage becomes visible. This message is important because humanity currently faces an unprecedented list of serious environmental problems. We have to avoid that slippery slope to an ignominious end. I must admit that I didn¿t like parts of this book. Despite having lived overseas, his descriptions of other cultures suffer from chronic tunnel vision. Yet despite that drawback, the conclusions are compelling and overall I give the book a tick.
CommonReeda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A serious and timely analysis of why past civilisations have become unsustainable. I thought some sections, particularly the section on Greenland were too long but overall it was a compelling read. The discussions on the factors behind decision making are interesting.
scroeser on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Diamond makes a convincing argument that many societies collapse because of an inability to manage their environment sustainably. As in 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' he draws on a huge range of times, places, and fields as examples. This book seems to more explicitly recognise the multiple dimensions involved in the issue than GG&S did. While it's downright terrifying at times, Diamond is clear that there are causes for optimism and ways to draw on past experience to make a difference.
daniel.links on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of Jared Diamond. This account of the collapse of some historical societies (ranging from Polynesia to the Mayans, to the Greenland Norse) is a series of fascinating historical episodes. The wider lessons to be drawn about resource depletion and collective responses to environmental challenges are thought-provoking.The discussion of some of the challenges in the modern world and in modern societies are interesting - the challenges of maintaining an industrial civilisation on Australia was not something I had ever considered, while soil erosion was not something that I had thought to worry about on a global scale. The account of the social/environmental causes of the Rwandan genocide is chilling, and is not an analysis usually offered.Jared Diamond is not a political radical like myself; there will be parts of this book (particularly the introduction and conclusion) that will irritate environmentalists (or conversely free market enthusiasts). If anything it reflects the fact that Jared Diamond is one of the most well-balanced authors I have read.