Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Yes, "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," by Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond is Number Two on the New York Times Best Seller List and #1 on the online bookseller we won't mention that is named after a river in South America (as of February 13).
But BuzzFlash doesn't pick books because they are the flavor of the month. What's interesting to us is that many books BuzzFlash offers are also becoming bestsellers. (Although, on the other hand, we pick many books out of obscurity and give them an audience and a market.)
In any case, in this 575-page tome, Diamond lays out a theory that 12 environmental challenges threaten current civilization. Diamond is a distinguished professor of geography at UCLA and didn't write this book as a political assault on the Bush administration. He sticks to the science, as Bush would ironically say -- and one can easily infer that the Busheviks are leading us over the cliff.
This is a book written by an academic, filled with lengthy footnoted documentation. It relies heavily on an examination of societies in history that have ignored ruinous environmental policies only to end up as ruined civilizations. It's not the manufactured, propaganda, faux "science" of the Bush Cartel; it's the real thing and it leaves us staring disaster in the face.
Diamond ends his book with a chapter that includes "Reasons for Hope." But reading the daily accounts of how the Bush administration is allowing the decimation of America's and the world's environment, it's hard to share his sliver of optimism. But then again, he's a scientist and not a political speculator.
Most scientists hope that what they have gleaned from their studies will help guide positive decisions for the human race. For that we respect Diamond, but you can be sure that you won't see Bush with a copy of "Collapse" tucked under his arm by Karl Rove just before he boards one of the presidential helicopters.
Are we, like many ancient civilizations that vanished, facing ecological suicide?
With the environmental Jim Jones in the White House, you bet. As we said before, this is not at all a broadside book attacking Bush. It's just the facts.
And the facts don't lie, even if Bush does.