- Save 10% on selected children’s books, compliments of Amazon Family Promotion exclusive for Prime members .
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive Paperback – 26 Jan 2006
|New from||Used from|
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
"Mr. Diamond...is a lucid writer with an ability to make arcane scientific concepts readiily accesible to the lay reader, and his case studies of failed cultures are never less than compelling." The New York Times
..".Collapse is a magisterial effort packed with insight and written with clarity and enthusiasm." Businessweek
"Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse represent one of the most significant projects embarked upon by any intellectual of our generation. They are magnificent books: extraordinary in erudition and originality, compelling in their ability to relate the digitized pandemonium of the present to the hushed agrarian sunrises of the far past. I read both thinking what literature might be like if every author knew so much, wrote so clearly and formed arguments with such care." Gregg Easterbrook, The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
"Diamonds most influential gift may be his ability to write about geopolitical and environmental systems in ways that dont 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
But it is into the two sections on Easter and the Greenland Norse that you can tell the author has poured his soul. They really stand out in what I read of this book - most of it - and perhaps for the history-interested layman they are the most interesting chapters to read. I'm not sure if the author presents anything radically new, but what he does do, which is to provide the lay reader with a useful summary of the present facts and findings on the two mysteries - he does very well. I feel I am now up to speed with some of the latest research into the disappearances of civilized society on Easter and in Norse Greenland. Nowhere else have I seen such useful and up-to-date general/overall accounts of the state of research into these two former societies. It's really required reading for anyone who has an interest in either. Not only does the author present us with - at the time of writing - the latest research, he also considers many pertinent issues himself and comes to his own conclusions. It's as if he took all the latest findings on Easter and Greenland and put them into an comprehensive, accessible, and useful/relevant perspective. What a great place then to start your readings into these two societies.
The essential point about Easter is that the local chiefs spent the resources of the island on mutual competition and self-aggrandizement. The society failed to come together and pool its knowledge and resources. Had it done so, and had it exercized greater forethought and caution as did some of the other societies presented in the book (e.g. the Japan of the daimyo), it might well have survived a deal longer.
The conclusions the author draws on the Greenland Norse are uniquely fascinating. In short, he puts their eventual collapse down to the following issues:
1) The Norse failed to hunt the ringed seals, fish and whales that the Inuit did, they thus deprived themselves of very important sources of winter protein
2) The Norse clung to their European, Christian, and Norwegian identity, values and heritage, and ultimately failed to adapt to their new surroundings - when the little Ice Age arrived they were undone
3) The Norse scorned the Inuit and failed to copy their ways or learn from them
4) Power in Norse Greenlandic society was in the hands of the chiefs and the clergy. These institutions had a vested interest in maintaining their own power and prestige inspite of developments that could have proven beneficial for Norse Greenlandic society as a whole
The chapters concluding the book concerning why societies fail or succeed and what we can learn from them today certainly have their value, even if the points made are at times a little self-evident.
For any reader interested in the two "failed" societies mentioned above, plus many others, you could hardly find a better place to begin than here. Top marks to Jared Diamond.
If you have the patience to wade through the book then it's a must read, as you will feel that bit more enlightened on the actions our current society should be taking.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
4/5 because the photographs in the center of the book ought to be in colour print.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > History > Social & Cultural
- Books > History > World History > Civilisation & Culture
- Books > Science & Nature > Earth Sciences & Geography > Education > Higher Education
- Books > Science & Nature > Earth Sciences & Geography > Geography > History
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Social & Cultural
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Sociology