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06 May 2008

Collapse

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

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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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