Top positive review
Lessons from the Past:
Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2015
"Collapse" is my third Jared Diamond book and, as before, he does not disappoint. Combining Anthropology, History and Geography with Environmental studies of how humans use, and misuse, Natural Resources, Diamond draws interesting insights into past societies and how their fates can relate to our modern world. To support his conclusions Diamond cites the findings and thoughts of many specialists, past and present, as well as his own field research at various locations around the world. With in depth proses "Collapse" gives the reader plenty of food for thought. Starting with his experiences in modern day Montana, Diamond examines the state's issues with logging, mining, soil erosion, water conservation and wildlife, both native and foreign. The insights by local ranchers, miners, loggers, rural and urban people give you an idea on how Montanans feel about government regulations and laws on those issues. Moving on to past societies the author follows the same scenario. In depth histories of such far flung places as Easter Island, Greenland and Iceland, New Guinea and Japan explains how they may have dealt with the same environmental problems that plague us today. I really enjoyed the Easter Island history and how this isolated speck of land moved from a sub-tropical paradise to a barren, treeless island and what role religion may have played in it's story. Up north the Vikings were facing their own problems when they colonized Greenland. At first they did well but conditions slowly deteriorated and when the Inuit returned, the Norse colonist were faced with human competitors as well as environmental challenges. The Anasazi and the Mayans are also looked at, how each society dealt with changing conditions and leaders that failed to address their many problems of population and environment. Changing to modern societies Diamond looks at the Rwandan Genocide, the issues faced by The Dominican Republic and Haiti. China's and Australia's evolving societies and how they are moving into today's world. With all this background Diamond discuses his conclusions and poses questions like; Why do some societies make the wrong decisions? What role do Big Business and the environment play in our future survival? The chapter on Big Business is especially enlightening with segments on Oil and Mining Companies, the Logging and Seafood Industry and how these vital businesses effect our future, for good or ill. Lastly he poses the question of what, if anything, can we learn from past societies's successes and failures. This is a great book, one that covers a lot of issues and gives both sides of the story. Jared Diamond is one of the best writers of science and history. He consistently takes me into new realms of wonder with interesting topics and unique insights. While I experienced no down loading problems with this Kindle edition is did notice a couple of "quality control" issues. Through out the book there were several places where punctuation's were left out and in the chapter on the Vikings in Greenland; the word "fjord" was replaced with "3ord". In neither case was the problem bad enough so that I couldn't follow the text, nonetheless it showed a certain lack of that quality control by the publisher. Regardless, this is a book well worth reading and I'm glad to have it on my Kindle.