BookBrowse Reviews Collapse by Jared Diamond

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How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

by Jared Diamond

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  • First Published:
    Dec 2004, 575 pages
    Jan 2006, 592 pages

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Diamond casts his critical but acute and inclusive gaze on the issue of why civilizations fail to see collapse coming. Current Affairs

Comment: In his earlier book, Guns Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond convincingly argued that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed writing, technology, government, and organized religion—as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war—which allowed them to venture far afield to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. 

In Collapse Diamond takes a look at the darker side of the coin - the societies that didn't make it, barely made it, or are destined, as Diamond sees it, for failure.  Much of the book focuses on a few of today's environmental hotspots - and the findings are pretty depressing - despite having all the technological advances and knowledge of our modern culture, it seems we're really not doing...

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