06 May 2008


What is it that makes one society thrive, but another fall apart?


Collapse by Jared Diamond
What is it that makes one society thrive, but another fall apart? Diamond explores this issue through comparisons between societies as diverse as Norse Greenland, a farming community in Montana, Easter Island, and Japan.

What emerges are factors that have a direct influence on a community's survival: environmental damage, climatic change, hostile neighbors, loss of trading partners, and the society's own responses to its environmental problems.

Diamond devotes many fascinating pages to the factors that precede a society's collapse. These include deforestation and habitat destruction, soil problems, water management, overhunting, overfishing, the effects of introduced species on indigenous species, human population growth, and increased per-capita impact of people. But it's not all gloom and doom: Diamond also spends time showing how societies have pulled themselves back from the brink.

All in all, a riveting read that deals with the central question of our time: how can we survive on this planet?

(Review by Susan Erasmus)

To purchase this book, click here.


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