Review: Jared Diamond’s “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive”

by writereaderly

jared diamond collapseDiamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel, sets out to analyse what factors lead to societal collapse and how societies have responded to these factors in the past. Historical analysis of Anasazi, Maya, Greenland Norse; contemporary analysis of Montana, Australia, Japan; etc. I think the book’s useful. He answered most of my question marks before the end of the book – although why *not* study the USA, the first domino we’re all most afraid of? He fleshed out what I already knew (presumably I wasn’t his audience). His causes for “cautious optimism” were unconvincing. His incorporating of the overwhelming political/social/environmental realities of globalisation, peak oil, climate change, etc., were cursory at best — his analysis was supremely territorial. His ego was a bit annoying (I, I, I, places and people I like, what I think, stories I tell in absence of fact, more about my sons, I, I, I). An ambitious book, by and large well done. Not enjoyable but useful.

Where it came from: Library
Time and manner of reading:
A week-or-so’s worth of waiting, armchair and bed reads – it’s a big’un
Where it went: Home
Best line of the book:
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:
The unconverted
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley; When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön