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Jared Diamond

Collapse : how societies choose to fail or survive

There are many predictions of gloom and doom today, but it's hard to know how seriously to take them. Is our society really heading towards disaster, or will we manage to get by as we have done in the past. In 'Collapse', Jared Diamond gives examples of societies which have indeed come to and end, and he hopes that we might learn something from them. What was the Easter Islander who cut down the last tree thinking? - without trees their society was clearly doomed. Diamond shows that it isn't simply a case of environmental stupidity, rather numerous factors contribute to the downfall of a society. He ends with a note of cautious optimism - we should be able to survive, but we will need to make some difficult choices.

It has to be said that this is a long book. Examples are taken from all over the world, and as well as past societies, Diamond looks at several problem areas in the modern world. He is skilled at keeping the interest of the reader, so it doesn't get boring. He does this though by giving the history of each of the societies in considerable detail - it's not the sort of book you can simply skim through. Hence some readers might find it intimidating. But my feeling is that its certainly worth the effort - it gives a balanced view of many of the environmental problems facing the world today.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 575 pages  
ISBN: 0143036556
Salesrank: 374243
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2005 Penguin Books
Amazon price $3.01
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 616 pages  
ISBN: 0140279512
Salesrank: 477873
Weight:0.97 lbs
Published: 2006 Penguin
Marketplace:New from £4.76:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 592 pages  
ISBN: 0143036556
Salesrank: 360542
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2005 Penguin Books
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 10.23:Used from CDN$ 0.54
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Product Description
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, Collapse exposes the deepest mysteries of the past even as it offers hope for the future.