Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

ISBN-10: 0670033375

ISBN-13: 9780670033379

Edition: 2005

Authors: Jared Diamond

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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 societys 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, Collapseis 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?
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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/31/2004
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 592
Size: 7.25" wide x 10.00" long x 2.25" tall
Weight: 2.464
Language: English

Jared Mason Diamond is a physiologist, ecologist, and the author of several popular science books. Born in Boston in 1937, Diamond earned his B.A. at Harvard and his Ph.D. from Cambridge. A distinguished teacher and researcher, Diamond is well-known for the columns he contributes to the widely read magazines Natural History and Discover. Diamond's book The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal was heralded for its accessibility and for its blending of science and social science. The interdisciplinary Guns, Germs and Steel--Diamond's examination of the relationship between scientific technology and economic disparity--won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. Diamond has won a McArthur Foundation Fellowship in addition to several smaller awards for his science and writing.

List of Maps
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
Modern Montana
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
Past Societies
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
The Last People Alive: Pitcairn and Henderson Islands
Pitcairn before the Bounty Three dissimilar islands Trade
The movie's ending
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
The Maya Collapses
Mysteries of lost cities
The Maya environment Maya agriculture Maya history
Copan Complexities of collapses Wars and droughts
Collapse in the southern lowlands
The Maya message
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
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
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
Opposite Paths to Success
Bottom up, top down New Guinea highlands
Tikopia Tokugawa problems
Tokugawa solutions Why Japan succeeded Other successes
Modern Societies
Malthus in Africa: Rwanda's Genocide
A dilemma Events in Rwanda More than ethnic hatred
Buildup in Kanama Explosion in Kanama Why it happened
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
China, Lurching Giant
China's significance Background Air, water, soil Habitat, species, megaprojects
Consequences Connections The future
"Mining" Australia
Australia's significance
Soils Water Distance Early history
Imported values Trade and immigration Land degradation&
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