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.
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A study of the downfall of some of history's greatest civilizations, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, includes coverage of such cultures as the Anasazi, the Maya, and the Viking colony on Greenland, tracing patterns of environmental damage, climate change, poor political choices, and other factors that were pivotal to their demise. 250,000 first printing.Review:
Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is the glass-half-empty follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns, Germs, and Steel explained the geographic and environmental reasons why some human populations have flourished, Collapse uses the same factors to examine why ancient societies, including the Anasazi of the American Southwest and the Viking colonies of Greenland, as well as modern ones such as Rwanda, have fallen apart. Not every collapse has an environmental origin, but an eco-meltdown is often the main catalyst, he argues, particularly when combined with society's response to (or disregard for) the coming disaster. Still, right from the outset of Collapse, the author makes clear that this is not a mere environmentalist's diatribe. He begins by setting the book's main question in the small communities of present-day Montana as they face a decline in living standards and a depletion of natural resources. Once-vital mines now leak toxins into the soil, while prion diseases infect some deer and elk and older hydroelectric dams have become decrepit. On all these issues, and particularly with the hot-button topic of logging and wildfires, Diamond writes with equanimity.
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
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Book Description Penguin Group USA Inc., 2004. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "I've set myself the modest task of trying to explain the broad pattern of human history, on all the continents, for the last 13,000 years. Why did history take such different evolutionary courses for peoples of different continents? This problem has fascinated me for a long time, but it's now ripe for a new synthesis because of recent advances in many fields seemingly remote from history, including molecular biology, plant and animal genetics and biogeography, archaeology, and linguistics." -Jared Diamond Who has looked on the ancient Maya or classical Mediterranean cities and not wondered why they were abandoned? Or whether they hold a message for us? In this fascinating book, Jared Diamond seeks to understand the fates of past societies that collapsed for ecological reasons, combining the most important policy debate of our generation with the romance and mystery of lost worlds. Citizens of first world societies look around and tend not to see signs of imminent ecological collapse: the supermarkets are full of food; water gushes from our faucets; we live amidst trees and green grass. Actually, though, many past civilizations--with far smaller populations and less potent destructive technologies than those of today--have inadvertently committed ecological suicide: the Polynesian societies on Easter Island and other Pacific islands or the Anasazi civiliation, for example. Ecocide asks why some societies make disastrous decisions, and how can we in the modern world learn better problem solving? Ecocide is an ecological history of human societies that considers why societies in some regions have been more vulnerable than those in other regions, and also compares the trajectories of pastcivilizations with likely trajectories of our own. Why did Greenland fail where Iceland succeeded? What links Rwanda and Australia? What can contemporary Montana learn from the ancient Mayans and modern Chinese?. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0670033375
Book Description Viking Adult, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Gift quality. Hardcover and dust jacket. Fine binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. xi, 575 pages,  pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cmContents: Prologue : a tale of two farms --Two farms --Collapses, past and present --Vanished Edens? --A five-point framework --Businesses and the environment --The comparative method --Plan of the book --pt. 1. Modern Montana --1. Under Montana's big sky --Stan Falkow's story --Montana and me --Why begin with Montana? --Montana's economic history --Mining --Forests --Soil --Water --Native and non-native species --Differing visions --Attitudes towards regulation --Rick Laible's story --Chip Pigman's story --Tim Huls's story --John Cook's story --Montana, model of the world. pt. 2. Past societies --2. Twilight at Easter --The quarry's mysteries --Easter's geography and history --People and food --Chiefs, clans, and commoners --Platforms and statues --Carving, transporting, erecting --The vanished forest --Consequences for society --Europeans and explanations --Why was Easter fragile? --Easter as metaphor --3. The last people alive : Pitcairn and Henderson Islands --Pitcairn before the Bounty --Three dissimilar islands --Trade --The movie's ending --4. The ancient ones : the Anasazi and their neighbors --Desert farmers --Tree rings --Agricultural strategies --Chaco's problems and packrats --Regional integration --Chaco's decline and end --Chaco's message --5. The Maya collapses --Mysteries of lost cities --The Maya environment --Maya agriculture --Maya history --Copa?n --Complexities of collapses --Wars and droughts --Collapse in the southern lowlands --The Maya message --6. The Viking prelude and fugues --Experiments in the Atlantic --The Viking explosion --Autocatalysis --Viking agriculture --Iron --Viking chiefs --Viking religion --Orkneys, Shetlands, Faeroes --Iceland's environment --Iceland's history --Iceland in context --Vinland --7. Norse Greenland's flowering --Europe's outpost --Greenland's climate today --Climate in the past --Native plants and animals --Norse settlement --Farming --Hunting and fishing --An integrated economy --Society --Trade with Europe --Self-image --8. Norse Greenland's end --Introduction to the end --Deforestation --Soil and turf damage --The Inuit's predecessors --Inuit subsistence --Inuit/Norse relations --The end --Ultimate causes of the end --9. Opposite paths to success --Bottom up, top down --New Guinea highlands --Tikopia --Tokugawa problems --Tokugawa solutions --Why Japan succeeded --Other successes. pt. 3. Modern societies --10. Malthus in Africa : Rwanda's genocide --A dilemma --Events in Rwanda --More than ethnic hatred --Buildup in Kanama --Explosion in Kanama --Why it happened --11. One island, two peoples, two histories : the Dominican Republic and Haiti --Differences --Histories --Causes of divergence --Dominican environmental impacts --Balaguer --The Dominican environment today --The future --12. China, lurching giant --China's significance --Background --Air, water, soil --Habitat, species, megaprojects --Consequences --Connections --The future --13. "Mining" Australia --Australia's significance --Soils --Water --Distance --Early history --Imported values --Trade and immigration --Land degradation --Other environmental problems --Signs of hope and change. pt. 4. Practical lessons --14. Why do some societies make disastrous decisions? --Road map for success --Failure to anticipate --Failure to perceive --Rational bad behavior --Disastrous values --Other irrational failures --Unsuccessful solutions --Signs of hope --15. Big businesses and the environment : different conditions, different outcomes --Resource extraction --Two oil fields --Oil company motives --Hardrock mining operations --Mining company motives --Differences among mining companies --The logging industry --Forest Stewardship Council --The seafood industry --Businesses and the public --16. The world as a polder : what does it all mean to us today? --Introduction --The. Bookseller Inventory # 1104110021
Book Description Penguin Group USA Inc., 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0670033375
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Book Description U.S.A.: Viking Adult, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-13653145643
Book Description Viking Adult, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0670033375
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Book Description Viking, U.S., 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. new hard back 1st edition in new jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 030509
Book Description Viking Press, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Author of GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL. New, unread copy, in new, mylar-protected dust jacket. 575 pp., with index. NFBS1. Bookseller Inventory # 19194