In this fascinating book, Diamond seeks to understand the fates of past societies that collapsed for ecological reasons, combining the most important policy debate of this generation with the romance and mystery of lost worlds.In this fascinating book, Diamond seeks to understand the fates of past societies that collapsed for ecological reasons, combining the most important policy debate of this generation with the romance and mystery of lost worlds.Read Less
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Because I have interest in the hisotry of Mayan culture, theexposition of it in this book has fascinated me very much. It is worthy of reading.
Jul 2, 2010
Calm, honest analysis
Diamond did not select bits of research findings to support his arguments. The message and the warnings our society should hear are oh, so calmy, cool-headedly exposed and credible. The tragedy-as in all of Diamond's books- is that the people who are the"chiefs", who ask us to build more temples from shrinking resources, was not heard then. Alas it will not be heard now, Very well written and argued, Excellent book.
Mar 4, 2010
Excellent and timely
Anybody who saw the recent earthquake devastation in Haiti needs to read Diamond's overview of how and why they had become a place of devastation from deforestation long before the earthquake. It should be a lesson for the world and a preview of disaster when the laws of nature are ignored in favor of profits.
We purchase copies of Diamond's book and give them as gifts to help educate and inform others so political policy doesn't lead us down the wrong path AGAIN
Jul 2, 2009
I normally read very fast and enjoy reading, but this book puts me to sleep.
Nov 20, 2007
Well-though-out and insightful
Unlike many writers in the current debate over the environment, Diamond takes a balanced veiwpoint. He examines the successes and failures of both ancient and modern societies. (yes, some native societies destroyed their environments too) and shows ways that business and proper care of the environment can work together. If you thought that capitalism and environmentalism were atithetical, read this book!
Publishers Weekly, 2004-11-15 In his Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, geographer Diamond laid out a grand view of the organic roots of human civilizations in flora, fauna, climate and geology. That vision takes on apocalyptic overtones in this fascinating comparative study of societies that have, sometimes fatally, undermined their own ecological foundations. Diamond examines storied examples of human economic and social collapse, and even extinction, including Easter Island, classical Mayan civilization and the Greenland Norse. He explores patterns of population growth, overfarming, overgrazing and overhunting, often abetted by drought, cold, rigid social mores and warfare, that lead inexorably to vicious circles of deforestation, erosion and starvation prompted by the disappearance of plant and animal food sources. Extending his treatment to contemporary environmental trouble spots, from Montana to China to Australia, he finds today's global, technologically advanced civilization very far from solving the problems that plagued primitive, isolated communities in the remote past. At times Diamond comes close to a counsel of despair when contemplating the environmental havoc engulfing our rapidly industrializing planet, but he holds out hope at examples of sustainability from highland New Guinea's age-old but highly diverse and efficient agriculture to Japan's rigorous program of forest protection and, less convincingly, in recent green consumerism initiatives. Diamond is a brilliant expositor of everything from anthropology to zoology, providing a lucid background of scientific lore to support a stimulating, incisive historical account of these many declines and falls. Readers will find his book an enthralling, and disturbing, reminder of the indissoluble links that bind humans to nature. Photos. Agents, John Brockman and Katinka Matson. (Jan.) Forecast: With a 12-city author tour and a 200,000-copy first printing, this BOMC main selection and History Book Club featured alternate is poised to compete with its ground-breaking predecessor. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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