Jerad Diamond speaks (or rather writes) for himself as he condenses his Collapse arguments into a long article on the editorial page of today’s NYTimes called “The Ends of the World as We Know Them”.
Overall, Diamond does a better job describing his Collapse book and the stories therein than either Brand or Gladwell. He is clear that the Norse did not chose exactly for example, but he does point out, as Sally does in her comment, that we have no excuses this time out. Further — and unlike the other reviewers of his book — he points to societies that did no collapse but that saw the signs adapted and endured.
My only complaint at the article is that in my edition of the paper and on the online version of the article, the NYTimes copyeditor was asleep on the job and got the book’s name wrong. It’s not “Collapse: How Societies Choose or Fail to Succeed” but “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”
Alert Diamond observers will have already read his take on Easter Island in the form of a review of other books in an early 2004 article in the NY Review of Books.
Sally and Kottke point to an even earlier article in the June 2003 issue of Harper’s Magazine called “The last Americans: environmental collapse and the end of civilization – Report”
Archive for January 1st, 2005