Easter Island, C'est Moi
By Terrence McNally, AlterNet. Posted July 11, 2005.
What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates? Jared Diamond explains how we can avert catastrophe.
In his Pulitzer-prize winning book, "Guns, Germs, and Steel," Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in "Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed," Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates? From the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya, and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, "Collapse" traces the fundamental patterns of catastrophe.