Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005)

Creators

Jared Diamond (writer).

Extent

Read in 2016.

Commentary

It’s a fine overview. I read the Easter Island chapter shortly after the book came out. I was prompted to read the whole book by Annalee Newitz' article about that chapter, "New evidence: Easter Island civilization was not destroyed by war" (Ars Technica, 2016-02-17), itself about “Weapons of war? Rapa Nui mata'a morphometric analyses” (Antiquity, 2016. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2015.189), a then-new study of mata'a shapes by archaeologist Carl Lipo et al. Newitz does a terrible job of actually addressing Diamond’s claims, not even mentioning deforestation. The use of some mata'a in war is neither crucial to Diamond’s summary nor apparently contradicted by the Lipo study.

non-fiction text