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.