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Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition Paperback – Jan 4 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (Jan. 4 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143117009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143117001
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
A few summers ago I visited two dairy farms, Huls Farm and Gardar Farm, which despite being located thousands of miles apart were still remarkably similar in their strengths and vulnerabilities. Read the first page
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "coastalslacker" on March 14 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a good book if you don't already realize that we're screwing ourselves as a species. If this describes you, then read this book. It is methodical, it makes a strong case, and it doesn't degenerate into rhetoric like lots of environmentally themed books. Diamond does not present an Ehrlich-like appocalypitic certainty-he is generous enough, and confident enough in human beings' resourcefullness, to give us even odds. This is nice, because, while I do believe we're hooped if we don't change, I do believe we CAN change, and alot of popular books on this subject always just tell us we're done like dinner.
For fans of Guns, Germs and Steel, don't expect this book to be anywhere near as good. If you are an environmentally-minded person and have done some reading on the subject, don't expect to take a whole lot of new, relevant, information from this book. It is pretty damn boring. By making his case methodically, step-by-step, Diamond bored me to tears (especially in the early going). It is important that he makes his case in this manner, to close the loop-holes for lunatic right-wing economists, but from a literary point of view it is a terrible read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jimbo Jones on Dec 25 2009
Format: Paperback
I first heard about this book by hearing someone say that it was "genius." It's certainly not, but it's worth a read anyway... at least the first 3/4.

I'm not overly interested in environmentalism -- I read this book primarily for the narratives and analyses of the ancient and recent societies that collapsed. The book is, after all, called "Collapse."

Collapse starts off very strongly. It gives a nice description of what constitutes a collapse and explains how history should be studied like a science. His intro chapter on Montana basically sets the tone for the next 13 chapters of the book, which are interesting for the most part, although sometimes redundant. His analyses of past and modern societies are insightful and exhibit a comprehensive knowledge of history... too bad he didn't stop there.

The last section is called "Pracical Lessons." After reading the previous chapters, I was pretty pumped for this part, as Diamond is obviously a vary smart man (not that his biases don't show at times). Unfortunately, without the use of a storyline to present his thoughts, as in the previous chapters, his writing derails and becomes extremely dry... almost unbearable to read. I reduced myself to generous skimming because he really presents nothing new; the average reader should be smart enought to extend what he was saying in the historical examples to modern society.

Thus, I'm not sure that I would reccommend this book. If it's history you're looking for, there are better books, and I'm sure the same goes if you're looking for a book on environmental issues. The book really doesn't work well as a hybrid; the last section doesn't flow with the first three. I would suggest reading only a few chapters...
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By David Critchley on May 17 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You may well feel enervated after the long journey through the rich and dense material of this excellent book, however, the view from the top is certainly worth the effort. It is not a pretty view but it is one that should be seen by all thoughtful people on the planet. Do not be put off; this book is entertaining throughout and Professor Diamond is a good writer. My main concern is that there ought to be a slimmer, "hipper" version of this ("Collapse for Dummies"?) so that it will be read more broadly. A minor criticism, from my perspective, is the relative lack of analysis on the role of greed in our global predicament. Perhaps that is a book in itself.

The writing is on the wall and Jared Diamond has written it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're interested in where our civilization on earth is headed, and what we might do about it read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a wealth of information. It is a long read but gripped me through the entire journey because of implications it has to our own nations and planet. Well worth it.
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By MRMLEM on Dec 20 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by my financial analyst. Jared Diamond does a thorough job of looking at a complex subject and breaking it down into clear, objective measurements. My background is technical; my wife is a linguist and we both enjoyed and appreciated the book. We recommend it to anyone who thinks about processes in society.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoyed reading about the other parts of the world and how they have evolved. Enlightening to say the least. The things they don't teach you in school.
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By bookweasel TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 2 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book when first published then passed it on to a friend. I was very glad I choose to read it again. Diamond studies modern Montana and several older societies to resolve the title. The resolution is basically the folly and lack of diligence of man and it is most interesting to see how this comes about. A provoking book and a must read.
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