"Most governments and international agencies seem to believe that the human enterprise is somehow 'decoupling' from the environment, and so is poised for unlimited expansion. Jared Diamond's new book, Collapse, confronts this contradiction head-on. It is essential reading for anyone who is unafraid to be disillusioned if it means they can walk into the future with their eyes open. … As suggested by its title, this book is about societal collapses — past, present and future — and the factors that cause human societies to fail. But it is also a history of success, of societies that were able to confront their problems and thrive, sometimes for millennia. … [Diamond's] primary mission is to determine the ecological, political and cultural conditions that lead to collapse and to contrast these with the conditions that favour success."

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Reference: Nature 433, 15 (2005)