Jared Diamond's Collapse

Jared Diamond of the University of California- Previous Pulitzer Prize winning author of "Guns, Germs & Steel" - has come out with a new book: Collapse. This book investigates the tail end of civilization. While Guns, Germs & Steel pried open the why and how societies become wealthy and powerful or not; Collapse considers how societies choose to fail. With the same generous depth of insight and research, Jared Diamond illustrates how fragile our world can be, and why it should matter to us now.
"For the first time in history, we face the risk of a global decline. But we also are the first to enjoy the opportunity of learning quickly from developments in societies anywhere else in the world today, and from what has unfolded in societies at any time in the past. That's why I wrote this book."Beginning with the poem "Ozymandias," by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1817), the stage is set to explore the mysteries of how ancient and not so ancient civilizations have vanished from Earth.

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stampt on these lifeless things,
The hand that mockt them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

The thoughtful and clear language after the poem is engaging and highlights how foolish people can be, as well as illuminates the possibilities for our future. ::Collapse ::Guns, Germs & Steel [T. McGee]