counter create hit Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

Availability: Ready to download

In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from p In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises. Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals -- ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry's fleet, to the Soviet Union's attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Australia after World War Two. Because Diamond has lived and spoken the language in five of these six countries, he can present gut-wrenching histories experienced firsthand. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past? Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond's books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet.


Compare
Ads Banner

In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from p In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises. Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals -- ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry's fleet, to the Soviet Union's attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Australia after World War Two. Because Diamond has lived and spoken the language in five of these six countries, he can present gut-wrenching histories experienced firsthand. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past? Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond's books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet.

30 review for Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Gates

    I feel very lucky to work with my wife, and not just because I get to spend extra time with her. Melinda’s way of looking at the world makes me better at my job. Jared Diamond says he owes the idea for his new book Upheaval to his wife, Marie Cohen, who’s a psychologist. Jared is already a polymath. Although he was trained in physiology, his books usually blend anthropology and history, and he’s a professor of geography. Add in Marie’s perspective, and you have the recipe for this discipline-bend I feel very lucky to work with my wife, and not just because I get to spend extra time with her. Melinda’s way of looking at the world makes me better at my job. Jared Diamond says he owes the idea for his new book Upheaval to his wife, Marie Cohen, who’s a psychologist. Jared is already a polymath. Although he was trained in physiology, his books usually blend anthropology and history, and he’s a professor of geography. Add in Marie’s perspective, and you have the recipe for this discipline-bending book that uses key principles of crisis therapy to understand what happens to nations in crisis. I love all of Jared’s books. I still rank Guns, Germs, and Steel as one of the best things I’ve ever read. Luckily for fans like me, Jared is very prolific and publishes a new book every few years. I had a great time sitting down with him in my office recently and asking him about his unusual perspective on human history. Jared starts Upheaval by explaining what psychologists know about how people react when their lives are turned upside down. Moments of crisis like the death of a loved one or becoming an empty-nester (to name just a couple) pose very basic questions about who we are and how we want to live. Some people can’t answer the questions and get stuck. Others work their way through the process and end up better off. Over the years, crisis therapists have learned why people do (or don’t) navigate crises successfully. For example: they acknowledge they have a problem and take responsibility for dealing with it; they separate core values that won’t change from bad habits that need to change; they seek help from those who have dealt with similar difficulties. Jared boils these insights down to 12 success factors, adapts them a little bit, and uses them to construct a series of fascinating case studies about how nations (Australia, Chile, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, and Japan) have managed existential challenges like civil war, foreign threats, or general malaise. I admit that at first I thought it might be a little strange to borrow from a model of a single person’s emotional turmoil to explain the evolution of entire societies. But it isn’t strange at all; it’s revealing. My favorite case study, because I knew so little about it, describes how Finland coped with sharing an almost a 1000-mile-long border with the Soviet Union. Gates Notes Insiders can download a free excerpt of the Finland chapter. It had never occurred to me to ask this question before, but why is Finland like Scandinavia instead of like Eastern Europe? After all, the Soviet Union invaded Finland during World War II, just like it invaded Poland. Jared’s answer is based on his 12-part model. (He goes through all 12 parts one by one in every case study, which gets slightly tedious, but it’s easy enough to skim once you get the hang of what he’s doing.) Finland has a powerful sense of its own uniqueness and was dead set on maintaining its independence. To make the point about the strength of Finnish national identity, Jared takes you on a fun tour of the notoriously difficult Finnish language. Though Finland was proud, it was also realistic. It understood that if the Soviets felt like taking over, they would. So, instead of ignoring the Soviet presence, which is what it had done before World War II, Finland decided to persuade the Soviets that they would gain nothing by occupying the country. Finland’s leaders entered into trade deals with the Soviets. Finns had to drive around in shoddy Soviet cars, but they also had access to Russian oil when the rest of the world was suffering from a shortage. Sometimes, staying in the Soviets’ good graces required questionable sacrifices. For example, the Finnish press was routinely silent on Soviet abuses in order to avoid giving offense. Diplomats coined the term “Finlandization” to mean weaker countries pandering unnecessarily to stronger ones, but Jared points out that the countries these diplomats represented never came to Finland’s aid when it was desperately trying to hold off invading Soviet troops during the war. Amazingly, by taking this approach, Finland not only maintained its status as an independent democracy; it also made itself indispensable to the Soviets as a source of Western technology and the country’s window to the West. Ultimately, Finland was much more useful to the Soviet Union as a friend than it would have been as just another puppet state. At the end of the book, Jared switches from looking back to looking forward. He lays out some of the biggest challenges facing the world at this moment—everything from climate change to political polarization—and considers how we might marshal the 12 factors to come out better in the end. In some of his previous books, Jared has been less optimistic than I am about where we’re headed. In Collapse, for example, he studied what makes societies fail, which is bound to be a bit of a downer. In Upheaval, though, he reminds us that some countries have creatively solved their biggest problems. Jared doesn’t go so far as to predict that we’ll successfully address our most serious challenges, but he shows that there’s a path through crisis and that we can choose to take it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”An example of presumed lack of models is provided by the U.S. today, for which belief in American exceptionalism translates into the widespread belief that the U.S. has nothing to learn from Canada and Western European democracies: not even from their solutions to issues that arise for every country, such as health care, education, immigration, prisons, and security in old age--issues about which most Americans are dissatisfied with our American solutions but still refuse to learn from Canadian ”An example of presumed lack of models is provided by the U.S. today, for which belief in American exceptionalism translates into the widespread belief that the U.S. has nothing to learn from Canada and Western European democracies: not even from their solutions to issues that arise for every country, such as health care, education, immigration, prisons, and security in old age--issues about which most Americans are dissatisfied with our American solutions but still refuse to learn from Canadian or Western European solutions.” It has been a source of frustration for me that Americans have developed so many prejudices against Europe and even their North American partnerships. We do so believe in our exceptionalism that we refuse to recognize that someone else somewhere else knows how to do something better than we do. When I read about the Roman Empire, one of their strengths, that always impressed me and helped them become the most powerful nation the world has ever seen, until the United States, was their ability to recognize and assimilate good ideas from other cultures. They assimilated the very best from every culture they encountered. As Jared Diamond points out, look at how many of the United States’ winners of Nobel Prizes were immigrants or first generation descendents from immigrants. The US may have provided the catalyst for those exceptional people to reach their full potential, but the synergy of bringing people together from different cultures,with different eyes, with different experiences, leads to amazing breakthroughs in science, economics, literature, art, etc. So is American exceptionalism really based on American ingenuity, or is it based upon the synergy of all those fatherlands/motherlands contributing to the melting pot of what makes us Americans? What are immigrants good for? Well, it seems to me like they are essential in keeping America exceptional. What Diamond is doing in this book is encouraging all of us to expand our view of the world and see the exceptionalism and the miscalculations that have occurred around the world in moments of crisis. He has selected 7 nations for which he has developed a particular fondness, and all of them are places he has spent a significant amount of time visiting or living in. The seven finalists for the Diamond round of analysis are Finland, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, Australia, and the United States. I am surprised that he did not include an African country. He does talk about the population explosion in Kenya, 4% growth, but he uses it in such a way that changes my perception of how to analyze population growth. Yes, of course, it is in the best interest of Kenya to lower their reproductive rates. There are currently 50 million Kenyans and 330 million Americans. Guess how many Kenyans it takes to equal the consumption of ONE American. 32 Thank goodness, the population growth of the US is nearly flat because, really, how many more Americans can we afford? For that matter, the ratio is way skewed between any first world country and any country in Africa. I feel that lowering our footprint is a duty for all of us. The goal of the book is to analyze these countries at moments of crisis and weigh the successfulness of the decisions that were made to attempt to avert disaster. I am pleasantly surprised that Diamond chose Finland because I know next to nothing about the history of Finland and certainly had no clear understanding of the complicated relationship they have had with Russia. In 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Finland. There is a strip of land between Russia and Finland that has geographical significance for both countries. Interestingly enough, Finland had alliances with Britain, France, and Sweden and fully hoped those nations would come to their aid. They did not. It was a true David and Goliath situation. The population of Finland was 3,700,000, compared to the Soviet Union’s 170 million. Now the allies were busy with a war with Germany, but still you have to think that they were looking at the mismatch of that situation and realizing that the war was over before it ever began. They were wrong. The Soviets threw everything at the Finns. They had modern tanks, planes, and artillery, which were nearly nonexistent for the Finns. They had 500,000 troops to use as just the first wave. It should have been over before it ever began. One of the Finnish secret weapons turned out to be skis. The Finns brought the Soviet advance to a screeching halt with courage, ingenuity, and superb leadership. I’d love to tell you more about how they accomplished it, but you really need to read the Diamond assessment. I will say, equally impressive has been the way that Finland has positioned itself between the West and the Russians to make it more advantageous for the Russians to let them continue to exist as a sovereign nation, rather than attempting once again to conquer and control them. Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into Edo Bay in 1853, changing the trajectory of Japanese history forever. As Diamond weighs the evolution of Japan in world events, you will see that they had moments of brilliant decision making and some very bad ones when hubris outweighed intellect. A coup in Chile, in 1973, led to the systematic murder of thousands of leftist leaning Chileans. Augusto Pinochet, the mild mannered, religious, psychopath who orchestrated this coup, stayed in power, of some sort, clear up to 2002. He was never prosecuted for his crimes. In fact, the Chilean economy eventually prospered because of some of the decisions he made as dictator. Diamond will sort through the blood and economic boom to analyze the Pinochet decisions that worked and those that led to genocide. Diamond discusses the particularly unique issues that happen when a country is an island nation, like Indonesia. How do you coalesce all these isolated island cultures into one sense of nationality? There is a lot to unpack in the recent history of Germany, and Diamond breaks down the disasters, as well as the moments of resilience, that have led Germany back to the forefront of successful nations. I’ve always heard that Australia is desperate to increase its population. Diamond breaks down the benefits and potential pitfalls of a liberal immigration policy to increase population. When you look at the successes of small nations, like Finland, who enjoy a very high standard of living from the top to the bottom of their societies, is a larger population really the key to greater productivity? Of course, Diamond devotes the most chapters to the United States. There are still a lot of wonderful things about being an American, and Diamond is unexpectedly hopeful that the US will begin to focus on the more important problems facing Americans, such as health care, education, our outrageously large prison system, immigration, and shoring up a system to insure comfortable retirements for our elderly. Solutions are all within our grasp, and many of them already exist with other friendly nations abroad, and even some solutions might rest with those nations right on our own doorstep. I do want us to, in fact, think more like the Romans and recognize good ideas wherever they might blossom into existence and not be afraid to apply them for the greater good of our society simply because they originated elsewhere. We need to embrace the fact that our exceptionalism isn’t the definition of being an American, but that we are an immigrant nation that provides a haven for exceptionalism from all over the world. You may not always agree with Diamond. Believe me, he is used to dissenting opinions. He even discusses the lack of manners and civil discourse, especially online, that might eventually prove as detrimental to our society as anything else we face. It is hard to reach reasonable conclusions when you presume the people who disagree with you are inherently evil. Diamond, as always, gives me much to ponder. Highly Recommended! I would like to thank Little, Brown for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    There is a large body of research and anecdotal information, built up by therapists, about the resolution of personal crises. Could the resulting conclusions help us understand the resolution of national crises? ======================================== Successful coping with either external or internal pressures requires selective change. That’s as true of nations as of individuals. The key word here is “selective.” It’s neither possible nor desirable for individuals or nations to change co There is a large body of research and anecdotal information, built up by therapists, about the resolution of personal crises. Could the resulting conclusions help us understand the resolution of national crises? ======================================== Successful coping with either external or internal pressures requires selective change. That’s as true of nations as of individuals. The key word here is “selective.” It’s neither possible nor desirable for individuals or nations to change completely, and to discard everything of their former identities. The challenge…is to figure out which parts of their identities are already functioning well and don’t need changing and which parts are no longer working and do need changing. Diamond begins with a look at the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston. 492 people died there, and the trauma of the event spread like a ripple on a pond disturbed by a large stone. One result of this event was recognition of the long-term effects of short-term events. Mental health approaches changed as a result, developing a new treatment modality. Diamond uses the perspective gained in the development of Crisis Management Therapy to make his historical analysis accessible. …individual crises are more familiar and understandable to non-historians. Hence the perspective of individual crises makes it easier for lay readers to “relate to” national crises, and to make sense of their complexities. He leads us through a comparative example, using a moment of truth from his own life, and shows similarities to the identity crisis that was extant in the UK in the 1950s and 60s, as that nation’s relative power position in the world had changed dramatically after World War II. He points out different sorts of challenges. For example, one might arise of a moment, by the sudden appearance, say, of some outside, disruptive force. (Alien invasion would have been a great one, but we are looking back in time, not forward.) Another sort could be a potential catastrophe that can be observed growing over time, or that might predictably appear at certain personal or national transition points. (Dude, daily bottles of Johnnie Walker and three packs of cigarettes a day is no way to build a future.) Jared Diamond - image from New York Magazine To this end he has constructed a checklist of factors related to the outcomes of those historical turning points. How does one, or how does a nation cope? There are variations between the personal and national checklists, but they are pretty much the same. Here are some of the items on the personal crisis list (there are 12) 1 – Acknowledgment that one is in crisis 2 - Acceptance of one’s personal responsibility to do something 3 - Building a fence, to delineate one’s individual problems needing to be resolved (Not the same thing as, you know, building a wall) 4 - Getting material and emotional help from other individuals and groups 5 - Using other individuals as models of how to solve problems This is a familiar methodology for Diamond, who won a Pulitzer for his brilliant Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), in which he looked at the availability of certain resources in specific locales to determine the likelihood of the people living there advancing technologically. In Collapse (2005), he found common roots in the ways that some historical civilizations fell apart, based on how they addressed ecological challenges. The World Until Yesterday (2012) looked at what urban societies might learn from traditional cultures. He takes a wide view in his historical analysis, looking at the national/societal level as often as not, but gets specific enough to make his analyses understandable. The case studies he examines include Finland having to cope with its great bear of a neighbor, the rise of the Meiji Era in Japan, coping with the arrival of Admiral Perry in 1853, Augusto Pinochet’s right-wing coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, Indonesia’s independence and subsequent takeover by Suharto in 1965, rebuilding Germany after WW II, Australia’s movement away from the UK following WW II, the looming age crisis in Japan, and growing long-term challenges in the USA. Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan – image from The Japan Society Diamond adds a look at the world overall, and applies the same metric. It largely comes down to identifying core national values that must be preserved, and practices, traditions, and national values that must be reconsidered, modified, or abandoned in the light of the sudden or emerging crisis. Some, as one might imagine, fare better than others, and sometimes even within one nation, the ability to cope with crisis is not necessarily consistent. Japan, for example, got serious when Commodore Perry showed up, the tip of the spear of Western involvement there. They figured out what needed to be changed in the face of superior western technology, but still managed to hold on to most traditional values. 21st century Japan, on the other hand, seems immovable in facing the impending population-bubble crisis that will leave the nation seriously short of labor. La Moneda, Chile’s presidential palace, under fire during the 1973 coup - image from CUNY Brooklyn Diamond employs a mosaic image for describing nations, recognizing that there is considerable diversity of opinion, ethnicity, strengths, and weaknesses within most nations. Makes for lovely imagery and is often a fair representation of elements of a personality or a nation. But there are times when the analysis falls apart. What if all the gray tiles slip towards the bottom of the frame and, let’s say, the blue tiles move to the upper portion? The resulting image becomes less of a mosaic, even though there may be flecks of blue on the gray side, and bits of gray in the blue. At such a point it is no longer useful to think of the entire image as a mosaic, but maybe as a possible cover for a book about the Civil War. Nobel Peace Price recipient, German Chancellor Willy Brandt - image from International News There are diverse ways in which one can benefit from reading Upheaval. Diamond’s format for looking at crises through a prism of national psychology is fascinating and potentially very useful. But another benefit is to gain a sense of places and situations with which most of us are unlikely to have great familiarity. It will explain why Finland does all it can to keep Russia happy, how Japan adapted to western military dominance by studying and mimicking their rivals, while maintaining a core identity. His look at Australia was particularly eye-opening for me, ignorant sod that I am re Oz history. There was one element of the book that did not grab me. Diamond ends each case study with a point by point look at how the nation fared against the checklist. It seemed unnecessary, once the list had been presented. Suharto - Indonesian dictator As with other wide-view perspectives, the significance lies in whether this analytical tool will allow us to better understand and fix problems. I suppose that is asking too much. Maybe a better question is whether it can help us tease out specific national characteristics that might be useful for helping a nation cope, or identify others getting in the way of, say, recognizing that one is even in or approaching a crisis, or that keep a nation from accepting responsibility for its role in generating that problem. Japan, for example, clings tightly to its highly restrictive immigration policies even while it is clear that there are not and will not be enough native Japanese workers to pay the taxes needed to support an aging population. Or large elements of economic and political leadership in the USA refusing to even acknowledge the existence of global warming, let alone accepting any responsibility for helping cause it. And insisting that the USA is exceptional prevents many from even considering looking at solutions other nations have forged to solve common problems. Gough Whitlam - a controversial and dynamic Australian PM in the early 1970s Upheaval may not offer solutions to national and global challenges that face us today and in the years ahead, but Diamond has produced a fascinating way of looking at national crises, and will give your gray cells plenty to consider going forward. The key, of course, is to apply the best minds to coming up with solutions and for those in positions of power, whether in government, the profit, or non-profit sectors, and voters, to exert all their influence in seeing to it that sensible changes are made, and that unhelpful national traits come in for some examination. Review posted – June 7, 2019 Publication date ----------May 7, 2019 - Hardcover ----------May 14, 2020 - Trade Paperback =============================EXTRA STUFF The author’s personal website Interviews -----Jared Diamond’s Books of His Life - by Elizabeth Khuri Chandler – 25:15 – fun and informative -----Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050 - by David Wallace-WellsToday, the risk that we’re facing is not of societies collapsing one by one, but because of globalization, the risk we are facing is of the collapse of the whole world. …one thing that we can learn is to look at other countries as models and disabuse ourselves of the idea that the United States is exceptional and so there’s nothing we can learn from any other country, which is nonsense.-----The Guardian - Jared Diamond: So how do states recover from crises? Same way as people do - by Andrew Anthony Jared Diamond on video -----Video – Diamond on the demise of compromise - How America could become a dictatorship in 10 years - 5:18 -----Jared Diamond on Upheaval, Trump & Brexit - 9:01 -----Jared Diamond's immigration thought experiment: Divide the strong and weak - 3:41 -----Bill Gates - My conversation with Jared Diamond - 2:54 – more focus on causes for optimism, and concerns about problems with communication -----PBS – Amanpour and Company - Jared Diamond on How Nations Overcome Crises - 2:59 Music -----Pick Yourself Up - by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern – performed by Frank Sinatra

  4. 4 out of 5

    Randall Wallace

    This book explains how six countries historically dealt with their own deep crisis and upheaval. Jared believes these six stories will help us solve any present or future U.S crisis or upheaval. He begins in Finland discussing the huge mobilization of Finns (1/6 of the population) and their fierce resistance against the Soviets which won them their freedom while other nearby nations weren’t so lucky. When the Soviets fought the Finns, eight Russians died for one Finn. Finland, Jared says, also w This book explains how six countries historically dealt with their own deep crisis and upheaval. Jared believes these six stories will help us solve any present or future U.S crisis or upheaval. He begins in Finland discussing the huge mobilization of Finns (1/6 of the population) and their fierce resistance against the Soviets which won them their freedom while other nearby nations weren’t so lucky. When the Soviets fought the Finns, eight Russians died for one Finn. Finland, Jared says, also won because as a nation they accepted responsibility for themselves. Then Jared moves on to Japan which has evidently has few billionaires. Cool Jeopardy Fact: Britain is only 22 miles from the mainland while Japan is 110 miles from the mainland. Then Jared goes off on a Cold War warrior rant stating how “the Soviet Union embarked on a policy of world domination”. He says there was a “real” risk of the Russians starting a war against the world. LOL – with whose petrol? With whose boots? He talks about the “burden” of the West protecting Western Europe after WWII - never mentioning the 27 million Russians that died during the WWII, the documented exhaustion of its people for military adventures immediately after that, or the overwhelming superiority of American military (as Gore Vidal said, at the time the US was supplying the Russian army their boots, and the Russians didn’t even have the gas to bring home their artillery and so horses had to drag it back). Nor will Jared mention the need of Russia (which unlike the U.S. had been twice recently invaded and millions killed) to need allied buffer nations if only to prevent more future invasions, or the obvious fact that at the same time under Truman, the US embarked on its own same distasteful policy of world domination – i.e. no mention by Jared of the 70 extremely serious interventions by the US Military in other sovereign nations between 1945-2000 (William Blum) – no, instead, only Cuba, Russia, Allende, Sukarno, and Marxism are threats in this book. The CIA would love Jared if he’s not already on company payroll. Then Jared makes a few snipes at Castro, enough to distract you from the remarkable job of Cuban doctors around the world, or that Cubans seem pretty happy. Selective memory makes Jared rant on about the crimes of Castro while ignoring the crimes of Batista that clearly led to Castro as well as the crime of the continued US embargo, or stealing Cuba’s only other deep-water port (Guantanamo) at gunpoint and not giving it back to force the Cuban government to fail (see Chomsky). Then it’s off to Chile, where Jared wants to muddy the name of Allende so you’ll think his overthrow wasn’t that bad. Jared says Allende ruined the economy and says with a straight face that no one (not even the CIA) knew that Pinochet would be so sadistic. The crimes of Allende, Jared says, are that he “rejected moderation, caution, and compromise”. That the United States itself since its birth has also “rejected moderation, caution, and compromise” hasn’t occurred to Jared. Jared laughably uses intentionally charged words, like how Allende “horrified” the armed forces – picture trained professionals in the art of fighting and resisting all pain “horrified” by a single 5’7” man with grey hair and glasses. Jared says an “acute crisis” in Chile was avoided that was “provoked by Allende’s declared intention to turn Chile into a Marxist state.” That sounds scary. Jared says Allende’s (violent & illegal) overthrow exhibited “flexibility”. Jared says inflation was 600% per year under Allende but plummets down to 9% per year after his removal. Sounds horrible enough, but then of course Jared intentionally won’t tell you most progressives already know: that Nixon famously ordered “Make the economy scream” meaning Chile, which might explain some of that 600% inflation. As Noam Chomsky wrote: “Our ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry, who was a Kennedy liberal type, was given the job of implementing the ‘soft line.’ Here’s how he described his task: ‘to do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.’ That was the soft line. Later, when the military coup finally came [in September, 1973] and the government was overthrown-and thousands of people were being imprisoned, tortured and slaughtered- the economic aid which had been canceled immediately began to flow again.” Foolishly, Jared laces this entire book with comments that would endear him to Kissinger but would make any educated progressive’s eyes roll. Then Jared is off to Indonesia to rewrite its bloody history with a take that is, once again, the OPPOSITE of Noam Chomsky. You get page after page of Sukarno’s “crimes” to make the following massacre of half a million by Suharto supporters come out somehow as a wash. JD’s take: Suharto who replaced Sukarno was somehow better in the long run because Indonesian elite locals told him so (just like Chilean elites told him about preferring Pinochet). Jared laughably goes extreme again calling Sukarno’s dropping paratroopers in the woods at night “an incredible act of cruelty”, while the U.S. embassy “standing by” during the entire mass murder of the 500,000 innocent people in Indonesia (New York Times) gets no such designation. To Jared, the massacre happens partly because he says Sukarno “deluded himself” and partly because the Communist Party had called “for the arming of workers and peasants”. No details are given but we are left only to suppose all communists were imminently about to reenact the John Carpenter movie “The Fog” on all regular Indonesians while they were inside eating ramen. According to Jared, Suharto won because he was an “outstanding realist” who knew how to “proceed cautiously”. But in terms of learning from Indonesia, fighting the climate crisis is about acting FAST, not valuing a slow-ass cautious approach which strangely also requires innocent people to be killed en masse. On page 661, he says the American people are flexible because they move, on average, once every five years. I think Jared needs to take a logic class. From that alone, you cannot deduce they must be a flexible people; why is institutional racism and patriarchy (Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, etc.) still so terrible in the U.S. after 200 years? Because of American flexibility? Then it’s off to Germany where Jared mentions the post-war crimes of the Russians against the Germans and shills for the Cold War by conveniently ignoring the just as bad post-war Allied crimes against the Germans (books on Allied post-war crimes: Crimes and Mercies, by James Bacque, After the Reich: the Brutal History of the Allied Occupation, by Giles MacDonogh, Savage Continent by Keith Lowe, Gruesome Harvest, by Ralph Franklin Keeling, and Other Losses, by James Bacque). Then quick as a flash, Jared is in Australia, mostly to bore us with how crisis and upheaval were somehow dealt with there. Then he tells us he is a director of Conservation International – but isn’t that the NGO that took $10,000,000 from ExxonMobil? (wrongkindofgreen.org). That keeps indigenous off conservation-protected lands in Guyana? (culturalsurvival.org) Sadly, there’s no corporate polluter too dirty for CI. Are we learning about Jared’s values yet? Then Jared says the problem in the US is our “accelerating deterioration of political compromise.” If Jared, had read (Noam recommended) Ornstein and Mann’s work, he would know that the Republican Party is now technically a “radical insurgency” that by definition obstructs compromise. If Jared read Noam as well, he’d know that both parties have drifted so far to the right that Bernie Sanders now occupies the same spot as an Eisenhower Republican did. So when Jared accuses EACH party of becoming more “extreme in its ideology” he doesn’t mean both are moving to the right. He means (without evidence) Democrats are somehow moving left. What? It’s easy to prove both parties have moved far right after the New Deal (read Chomsky). Clinton shoving NAFTA down our throats, and Obama’s targeted assassination campaign and drone terror are not examples of Democrats moving Left – they are examples of Democrats shamelessly courting Republican votes through acts of “compromise”. Take this single bit: Jared attributes the historical success of the U.S. to “a combination of many advantages: demographic, geographic, political, historical, economic, and social.” That’s it. To Jared, none of America’s great wealth and power comes from theft, slavery, or violence. And after millions of acres of blatant land theft through violence why not also mention slavery which was our other biggest money maker, and maybe what about forcing Mexicans at gunpoint to give up the entire Southwest, and while you are there don’t forget how the California Genocide to get more “free” land made us truly “great”. To inoculate yourself against Jared, also read Gerald Horne, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Chris Hedges, or even John Perkins). Our economic greatness only came at steep price in human misery for non-whites and was only made possible by a “wetiko” culture (read Derrick Jensen) based on “redemptive violence” (read Richard Slotkin). Then he calls out Islamic Fundamentalism (fomented by the CIA during the Russia/Afghan War) while ignoring U.S. Christian Fundamentalism. What I liked in this book was that in it Jared says what few on the Left will mention: that a huge part of solving the climate crisis will involve massive energy reduction in the West. Excellent. Then Jared gives us a cool number to know – 32. In the U.S., we use 32x more energy to do everything and consume 32x more stuff than the world’s poor. It was deeply reassuring that Jared is so realistic of the critical importance of deeply decreasing consumption in our U.S. future. And it was great that Jared brings up another thing few on the Left discuss: that the world’s poor would rightfully will have to move up in energy consumption as we in the west finally move down (taught to me by Walden Bello and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz at many International Forum for Globalization Meetings). And happily, on page 367, Jared says that American ‘rags to riches’ is a myth. Jared only mentions Israel as a victim of a rocket attack, so Zionists can rest easy with this book. Then Jared casts doubt on the power of the UN w/o offering the backstory on the US’s lead role in screwing up the UN from its inception and beyond. Then Jared says one solution for all countries in crisis is to accept responsibility, avoid victimization, self-pity, and blaming others. Last time I checked, America was built on blaming blacks for being lazy, and not accepting responsibility for destroying the land (southern monoculture forcing the move west) or other countries (Laos, Vietnam, Guatemala, etc) and playing the victim to justify forcing a nation westward by preemptively slaughtering “savages” for their land after first blaming them. Today, self-pity and blaming others are the distinguishing marks of millions of US white supremacists who fear one day they will be second class to non-whites. Jared’s next solution is honest self-appraisal: imagine Americans honestly appraising hundreds of years of what was unjustly done to natives and blacks to make money for whites. Jared is America’s favorite polymath willing to give unchecked US militarism and capitalism a free pass. Jared sees no upcoming risk of economic collapse larger than the Great Depression, or potential extinction. Nor will Jared discuss the elephant in the room: how do you overcome the massive resistance to climate crisis mobilization in the U.S.? To his credit, Jared rightfully worries about Nuclear War and gets kudos for discussing William Perry. But the United States Military carried out 70 interventions in other countries between 1945-2000 (William Blum) yet Jared won’t admit the US military as being ANY part of the problem facing us. Of course, the military, the corporate press, and the business community love Jared because he’ll never threaten their livelihoods. I think this book was written to do two things: to cloud Americans view on the violent removal of Allende in Chile and Sukarno (with the massacre of 500,000) in Indonesia. Instead we are to look at how great Chile and Indonesia are today as economic forces, boldly propping up capitalism for the elites. Jared says this is a book “of comparative studies of national crises”. Too bad he never discusses instead that elephant in the room – generating sufficient U.S. political will against entrenched capitalist resistance - if the U.S. can’t manage basic gun control, or shutting down the latest war on women, then how can it dream of addressing something as big as the climate crisis?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    There is just nothing new or noteworthy in this book. There is not a coherent theory of crisis, just a few bullet point lists of things these countries have in common, which is really a stretch. Some of the history was interesting, but if you want history, best go elsewhere. A lot of his nuggets of wisdom come with sources such as "my friend who is Japanese" or "a friend who is Chilean." I read the entire book and have no idea what the thesis is even supposed to be.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Oddly enough, after the introduction, I had a strange, trepidatious feeling that I was going to be reading a psychologically-based analysis of a handful of different countries and how they handled multiple historical crises. In one way, this might be fine if all we just wanted lite anecdotes, but this particular book is simultaneously more and less than that. Less psychological, more analogical. And more in that it is surprisingly broad-based, detailed, and historically accurate. Diamond chose sev Oddly enough, after the introduction, I had a strange, trepidatious feeling that I was going to be reading a psychologically-based analysis of a handful of different countries and how they handled multiple historical crises. In one way, this might be fine if all we just wanted lite anecdotes, but this particular book is simultaneously more and less than that. Less psychological, more analogical. And more in that it is surprisingly broad-based, detailed, and historically accurate. Diamond chose seven countries to highlight mostly because he lived in each and spoke most of their languages, which I can't fault him for, because it gives some great immediacy. I loved the one about Finland nearly as much as I loved the one about Chile. Finland's struggle and clear-eyed resolution with both Russias's invasion and the full involvement were all kinds of heroic, scary, and tragic. Chile's challenges (tragedies) with Allende and Pinochet's history is fairly better known in some circles. Diamond focused on both the good and the obviously evil. Less emphasis is put on the Chicago Boys' influence. More on the torture and the willingness to keep Pinochet around despite his more nasty habits, while taking into account some of the obviously positive accounts of the country's growth during that time. I also loved the one about Indonesia even if I was horrified to learn so much about the mass-killings. On both occasions. The corruption was not as bad as the .5 million to 2 million dead, of course, but hell, both are bad in their ways. The others about Germany post-war and Austrailia post-British Empire were good and interesting as well, but I think I was a bit more interested in the early Japanese post-Shogunate and post-WWII historical periods. The final analysis? Diamond goes into some pretty realistic breakdowns of how each country faced its challenges, how resilient each is in the face of tragedy or danger, and how it responds when it is in the wrong. In other words, like spoiled children, embarrassed, or whether they take full responsibility for their actions. This book is not a full-service political discussion and it ignores quite a few factors but far less than I would have assumed. All in all, I was very happy with the results... even after having read a ton of other history books. :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    fourtriplezed

    Jarod Diamonds Guns, Germs, and Steel was a worthy read. His next book Collapse had some things of interest but seemed to be a book written for the sake of writing a book. This one does not seem to be a written for the sake of writing a book, it is a book written for the sake of writing a book. One word describes this book for me, poor. Presented in three parts and with part one I knew this was going to be a struggle. It contained the Prologue and first chapter. The author proceeding to give th Jarod Diamonds Guns, Germs, and Steel was a worthy read. His next book Collapse had some things of interest but seemed to be a book written for the sake of writing a book. This one does not seem to be a written for the sake of writing a book, it is a book written for the sake of writing a book. One word describes this book for me, poor. Presented in three parts and with part one I knew this was going to be a struggle. It contained the Prologue and first chapter. The author proceeding to give the reader rather mushy and long rambling reasons for writing this book on Upheaval How Nations Cope With Crisis And Change. Diamond had lived through his own personal crisis. He also had a relationship with the 7 countries discussed in the book. He thought that it would be useful to compare these countries crisis/upheavals to his own personal crisis/upheaval with some psychoanalytical process that individuals may go through when they are in crisis, write some history on each nation, add his local knowledge and hey presto! write an idiosyncratic book about upheavals. In my opinion the personal reasons for his career upheaval (that could have ended in failure but did not) are hardly worth comparing to a national event such as the death of perhaps millions in Indonesia in the mid 60’s. Being discouraged over a scientific experiment or dying over a political upheaval? Hmmm! Go the scientific experiment any day of the week. This is just one of the many poor analogies through the text. Part two contained the history chapters. It is very populist in the telling. When discussing Chile, the author based his assessment of Allende “…on the recollections of a Chilean friend of mine who knew him..” What? Did I read that correctly? He based all his writings in an entire chapter of a countries leader based on the recollections of a friend? Am I supposed to take this seriously? I will add that the national upheaval of the 7 nations covered is hardly new territory. Finland from the demise of imperial Russia through to its relationship with the USSR, Japan from the Meiji Restoration, Indonesia in the mid 60’s, the rebuilding of Germany after WW2 and Australia’s so called upheaval of knowing who we are. The history telling itself lacked depth in terms of being historical accounts. I suppose that could be forgiven as this is a very long book but it was interspersed with personal anecdotal interludes that were nice in a way but just that, nice. At the end of the chapters each nation was matched against 12 “Factors related to the outcomes of personal crisis” that matched 12 “Factors related to the outcomes of national crisis”. So for example factor 6 in the personal crisis is ‘Ego Strength’ and the national will be matched with ‘National Identity’. Each nation was rated against the factor number in a meaningless discussion on how they reacted against the factor itself. I had no idea the connection between the factors for each individual nation when compared to the next nor understood the differences between each of the nation. It just seems to be, to put it bluntly, psychoanalytical BS. Part three included a “what lies ahead” discussion on Japan, the US and the world in general and was far too long and rambled all over the place. Conclusions were the obvious or non-existent. Strangely the author kind of admitted just that by saying that his suggestions were “….absurdly obvious!” and retorts, with the obvious, that the requirements he has suggested for utopia are being ignored. Well yes and I too will ignore them if I ever have to read the Happy Doll analogy that made me laugh out loud when he discussed climate change. For the discussions on the historical events pertaining to each country the author has relied on a further reading section. Fair enough but for the other areas of the book when stating statistics we get no footnotes and this is justified by another friend (Jared Diamonds many friends influence on his writings and opinions are very big in this book) complained that his books hurt their neck while reading them “….in bed at night.” So no footnotes as even though the last book had them online no one read them. That I am afraid may say a lot about his readers. If anyone reading this is offended don’t take this personally but if you are not prepared to at least check consult footnoted sources in a book than how do you know the source of the information? The lack of coherence in the narrative, presentation and the analysis is striking. Is this really by from the author of the very good Guns Germs and Steel? Populist writing at its worst. One star.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, by Jared Diamond, is an narrative history looking at crisis in nation states within the 20th century (or so). The book charts these crisis in terms of twelve "personal crisis" points that Diamond lists off. The countries in the book are chosen because the author is familiar with them, and has lived in many of them for many years, experiencing some of these modern crisis first hand. The book is an anecdotal, narrative history, with little quantitati Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, by Jared Diamond, is an narrative history looking at crisis in nation states within the 20th century (or so). The book charts these crisis in terms of twelve "personal crisis" points that Diamond lists off. The countries in the book are chosen because the author is familiar with them, and has lived in many of them for many years, experiencing some of these modern crisis first hand. The book is an anecdotal, narrative history, with little quantitative analysis involved. The author even states that a quantitative analysis to try and prove his personal crisis/national crisis thesis would be too time consuming. The analysis of nations done is interesting; Finland during its post WWII diplomatic crisis, where it began to covet friendly relations with the USSR to ensure Moscow did not need to press its geopolitical ambitions. Japan during the Meiji Restoration and its crisis of identity, as well as its post WWII revival, Australia during its early 2000's political crisis', Indonesia in the era of Suharto and the anti-communist coups, Germany in the era of reunification and so on. The history here is sometimes interesting - little tidbits and facts standout and further reading on subjects has arisen in my mind - Indonesian history, Finlandization, further reading on Meiji Japan (always of interest to me) and so on. Even so, the narrative aspect of this book is weak, and the thesis is almost pointless. Ascribing national crisis to a similar process of analysis to personal crisis is weak; national crisis have completely different characteristics than personal crisis, and often do not come to satisfactory conclusions as they involve multiple parties. Personal crisis can affect others, but often the conclusion is a change in mindset - at the national level, mindsets of politicians can be changed (ie. Finland's diplomatic revolution), but often time civil conflict and violence, or complete political deadlock can become the norm, and changes could be more radical, or often less radical, then needed. Issues can also linger; Indonesia's political crisis could unfold again, as varying ethnic groups clash for power. Finland may not always be safe from its coveted geopolitical position in the eyes of Russian policy makers if the international system changes; Australia may continue its political deadlock into the future; the US may again divide along lines that closely resemble its Civil War period. I found this book to be relatively weak and pointless. In the era of Trump, many Americans are searching their souls and racking the bookshelf for ideas on crisis, national decline, nationalism, democracy and so on. This is a wonderful time for Western political ideas. However, as Diamond alludes but seems to miss, crisis has and will continue to affect nation states across the globe, regardless of whether the international system survives as is, or changes or even collapses. World peace and stability do not necessarily rest on Western Liberal Democracy or Interventionism, as history clearly has shown. Diamond adds his own political inflections and bias to the book, sympathizing with the ideas that put Pinochet and Suharto in power. There is no room for any Socialism, Communism or even the thought of experimenting with more socialist political ideals in Diamonds eyes. Instead, Western market orientation is key, as is liberal democracy, and a class of wealthy, educated politicians and business men to rule over the masses in benevolent form. Clearly, I found a lot to criticize in this book. While the narrative history is interesting, if shallow, the clear bias of the author - not even attempting to write with an unbiased voice, or utilizing facts and statistics or sound principles of historical analysis, is a glaring concern. The thesis of this book is muddled and needs work - although breaking down national crisis into a list of twelve items based on tried principles of personal crisis in the psychiatric field is interesting, it reeks of pseudo-science and possess' very little value due to a lack of testing. This is where quantitative analysis would have added weight to the authors arguments, and made the thesis shine. Instead, this book of musings attempts an heir of authoritative scholarship, while falling far short of the mark. Worth a read? Maybe. Its quick and easy to read, and definitely a good starter point for layman interested in gaining more knowledge of national crisis in history. Other than that, it could be passed over for more intricate, analytical, and well though out books on the subject of nationalism, democratic decline, and political crisis that have been written in the hundreds over history. For those hungry for a deeper read, this one can be skipped or at least downgraded in priority.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Wineberg

    Diamond in the Rough Albert Einstein spent the last half of his life trying to fit the universe into one elegant formula. He did not succeed. Jared Diamond is trying to do the same with national political crises in Upheaval. He has developed a list of 12 factors that show up in times of crisis at the nation level. The degree to which the nation deals with those factors (if at all) determines how successful it will likely be in dealing with it. The book exists at three levels: the individual, the n Diamond in the Rough Albert Einstein spent the last half of his life trying to fit the universe into one elegant formula. He did not succeed. Jared Diamond is trying to do the same with national political crises in Upheaval. He has developed a list of 12 factors that show up in times of crisis at the nation level. The degree to which the nation deals with those factors (if at all) determines how successful it will likely be in dealing with it. The book exists at three levels: the individual, the nation and the world. The factors relating to their crises can be quite similar. The bulk of the book is on seven countries Diamond has had relationships with, having lived and/or worked in them. They are Indonesia, Japan, Germany, USA, Australia, Chile and Finland. They’re all different, and they all handled their crises differently. Some are still in crisis. A crisis is a serious challenge that cannot be solved by existing methods of coping, Diamond says. The examples include foreign invasion, internal revolution, evolving past previous bad policy, externalizing problems, and denial of problems. As for the US, Diamond sees it entering a crisis of identity and survival, riven by self-centered Americans who only care about themselves and today – right up to the top. Perspective, reflection and especially co-operation and compromise are absent from this crisis. These are Diamond’s 12 factors for national crises: 1. National consensus that one’s nation is in crisis 2. Acceptance of national responsibility to do something 3. Building fence, to delineate the national problems needing to be solved 4. Getting material and financial help from other nations 5. Using other nations as models of how to solve the problems 6. National identity 7. Honest national self-appraisal 8. Historical experience of previous national crises 9. Dealing with national failure 10. Situation-specific national flexibility 11. National core values 12. Freedom from geopolitical constraints The Chinese word weiji means crisis. It component characters are wei for danger and ji for opportunity. As in many clouds have silver linings. The example he gives first is Finland’s stunningly rapid industrialization when faced with $300M in war reparations after negotiating peace with the invading Soviet Union. Finland only had four million people at the time. Things get dicier at the global level. Looking forward to potential crises like nuclear winter and climate change, Diamond’s model shows the nations of the world, and in particular the USA, are not set, ready or equipped to make the efforts the model stipulates to come out the other side of the crisis decently. The structure of the book is standardized: a lot of history, some insight from personal relationships, and how the historical crisis fits the parameters Diamond set out. Mostly, it’s a lot of international history; interesting, and probably new to most readers. By far the best chapter is the epilogue, where he tackles the real issues: do national leaders make a difference in crises, and do nations need a crisis to act, or can they anticipate. The answers are sometimes to all the questions. Diamond has created an interesting matrix for future study, but its application to the real world remains a question mark. It was a good exercise, but of indeterminate value. David Wineberg

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris Leuchtenburg

    I guess when you are smart enough to master six languages in your youth and publish two, thought-provoking and popular books, you can get anything published. Diamond skims along the surfaces of complex histories, never demonstrating the research and deep thinking that would justify his sweeping generalizations. I actually read the first few chapters carefully, refusing to believe that the author of Gun, Germs and Steel and Collapse could base this book on such shallow thinking. Skipping to the W I guess when you are smart enough to master six languages in your youth and publish two, thought-provoking and popular books, you can get anything published. Diamond skims along the surfaces of complex histories, never demonstrating the research and deep thinking that would justify his sweeping generalizations. I actually read the first few chapters carefully, refusing to believe that the author of Gun, Germs and Steel and Collapse could base this book on such shallow thinking. Skipping to the What Will Happen In the Future chapters, he concludes unhelpfully with: we'll see. The thud of a dud.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    “Successful coping with either external or internal pressure requires selective change. That’s as true of nations as of individuals.” The author describes and compares crises and selective changes, over the course of several decades, in Finland, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, Australia and the United States. He has a theory (12 factors associated with the resolution of national crises) and he bends each of his samples to fit into that theory. He selected those countries because in most cases “Successful coping with either external or internal pressure requires selective change. That’s as true of nations as of individuals.” The author describes and compares crises and selective changes, over the course of several decades, in Finland, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, Australia and the United States. He has a theory (12 factors associated with the resolution of national crises) and he bends each of his samples to fit into that theory. He selected those countries because in most cases he had lived there at some point. One of my problems with the book is that it doesn’t seem like a very rigorous way to select a research sample and I was also put off by the fact that a lot of his research consisted of his questioning his friends and relatives. I stuck with this book until the bitter end, but it took me forever. This was too dry for me: “Finland is thus the first of our two examples of countries experiencing a crisis due to a sudden external shock. In the next chapter, on Meiji-Era Japan, we shall discuss another country with strong national identity and a distinctive language, much more distinctive culturally then Finland, and with even more drastic selective change, and with outstanding realism like Finland’s but with a different geopolitical situation that permitted Japan to pursue a long-term strategy more independent than Finland’s.” I can see it as a textbook for a class, but frankly I would have dropped this course in college. I am really not in a position to assess whether or not his interpretation of events is correct. Thankfully, I am no longer in school and will not be tested on this material, but he reminded me of professors who had been teaching for decades from the same yellowing pages of notes. I’m afraid this book was not for me. I’ve rounded 2.5 stars up to 3. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Yoder

    Jared Diamond's framework for this book (Mapping the factors for individuals to successfully surmount personal crises to the greater context of nations successfully navigating crises) strikes me as a simple, brilliant move. For all the talk of needing more STEM education in our nation we need a few more million social workers to guide us all through the honest appraisal of our shortcomings & strengths so our nation can move past so many simultaneous crises. Reading about how Japan, Finland, Germa Jared Diamond's framework for this book (Mapping the factors for individuals to successfully surmount personal crises to the greater context of nations successfully navigating crises) strikes me as a simple, brilliant move. For all the talk of needing more STEM education in our nation we need a few more million social workers to guide us all through the honest appraisal of our shortcomings & strengths so our nation can move past so many simultaneous crises. Reading about how Japan, Finland, Germany, Chile, Indonesia, and Australia dealt with their modern upheavals made me worry more about the United States of America, which Diamond addresses toward the end of his book. Do we still have what it takes to resolve incredible challenges? Can we leave behind so many damaging cultural myths that hold us back & divide us unnecessarily? Will the wealthy come to their senses soon enough to allow other groups in our nation to actually receive the benefits of our government & somewhat-strong economy? Diamond mentions that heads of state have read his previous books and discussed them with him. I can see that Bill Gates has this book on his To Read list (Hey, Bill! I'm using a Windows OS now and it doesn't stink.). I can only hope that more elites will take the time to read Upheaval. My own children's future may depend upon it. A few more thoughts. Jared Diamond's travels, interconnections, and abilities with languages (he's way above average in terms of language mastery compared to other Americans) really serve him well. I've read for years about World War II and heard about how Finland defended itself well against hordes of Russians, but I had never focused upon what they had to do to survive WWII plus stay independent of Russia. I have so much more respect for Finland at this point. I need to read further about this nation & their wacky language. I wish Diamond had included an African nation in this book. I never knew about the dramatic changes that swept through Australia in just a few months in 1972 as a result of the UK treating them like a foreign nation (which Australia itself didn't even consider itself to be for many years). I can only hope that the USA can have some dramatic changes in so many important arenas. Such an important book. I'm grateful I rec'd an ARC. My apologies that this is a disjointed review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    “Those who study just one country end up understanding no country.” While I appreciate what Diamond is attempting in Upheaval, I can't say he sticks the landing. Overall, I felt this book was extremely underwhelming especially when compared to the Pulitzer Prize winning Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and even Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Not to be ageist, but as an octogenarian it felt as though Diamond is letting end of life sentimentalism and nostalgi “Those who study just one country end up understanding no country.” While I appreciate what Diamond is attempting in Upheaval, I can't say he sticks the landing. Overall, I felt this book was extremely underwhelming especially when compared to the Pulitzer Prize winning Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and even Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Not to be ageist, but as an octogenarian it felt as though Diamond is letting end of life sentimentalism and nostalgia cloud the literary waters. Upheaval relies heavily on the countries Diamond spent the most time in, resulting in a lot of: "a [insert nation] friend of mine," or, "my [insert nation] friend told me ..." Yes, he tried something new: applying the psychology of trauma response to nations instead of people. Original enough, but consequently filled with big stretches, hypotheticals, and a plethora of potentialities. Extrapolating anything from such a hodge podge of different nations and situations, as you can guess, gets a little messy and convoluted. Somewhere along the way, it's almost as if Diamond loses his own thread and starts to throw in everything plus the kitchen sink. I've been having trouble putting my finger on what exactly threw me off this book, and I think it's the skimming nature of it. A sweeping view of many things can be difficult to pull off, although Yuval Noah Harari did an excellent job in Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind. You might say this book is ... all over the map. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3, because: Jared. Diamond. The legend, and I absolutely loved Guns, Germs and Steel as well as Collapse. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the high ratings on here are because of his past books and reputation more than this actual book. He gets the automatic *Diamond Pass.* Anand Giridharadas panned the book in his review for the New York Times, calling it "sloppy" and "riddled with errors." He feels the book calls into question our decision to revere certain authors—particularly white, male ones—because they've produced respected works in the past. Upheaval is a muddled middle of the road for me, albeit with bonus points for the optimistic tone after the rather depressing Collapse. It is also one of Bill Gates' top 5 summer reads, and "shows that there's a path through crisis and that we can choose to take it."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan Bell

    In this follow-up to Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond shows how nations have overcome crises through methods individuals often practice in overcoming personal trauma. Through his historical study of Finland, Meiji Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, and Australia and his examination of current crises facing Japan, the US, and the world, Diamond reveals how certain factors like honest self-appraisal and dealing with national failure can help predict resilience. This is a fascinati In this follow-up to Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond shows how nations have overcome crises through methods individuals often practice in overcoming personal trauma. Through his historical study of Finland, Meiji Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, and Australia and his examination of current crises facing Japan, the US, and the world, Diamond reveals how certain factors like honest self-appraisal and dealing with national failure can help predict resilience. This is a fascinating and informative read that gave me a new perspective on the crises facing our country and our world today. Thank you to Little, Brown for the advance reading copy!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    The title sums up the book very well. It gives an in-depth analysis of how six different nations - Finland, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany and Australia have coped with sudden and/or gradual changes. There is also an in depth look at the United States, a country in crisis now because of polarized politics, gerrymandering and inequality. The author starts with looking back at his own personal crises and also setting up a framework for national crises in a personal crises setting. "Factors relat The title sums up the book very well. It gives an in-depth analysis of how six different nations - Finland, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany and Australia have coped with sudden and/or gradual changes. There is also an in depth look at the United States, a country in crisis now because of polarized politics, gerrymandering and inequality. The author starts with looking back at his own personal crises and also setting up a framework for national crises in a personal crises setting. "Factors related to the outcomes of personal crises: 1. Acknowledgment that one is in crisis. 2. Acceptance of one's personal responsibility to do something. 3. Building a fence, to delineate one's individual problems needing to be solved. 4. Getting material and emotional help from other individuals and groups. 5. Using other individuals as models of how to solve problems. 6. Ego strength 7. Honest self-appraisal 8. Experience of previous personal crises 9. Patience 10. Flexible personality 11. Individual core values 12. Freedom from personal constraints" I found this a useful framework, both in terms of nations - and in terms of my own experience. The differences in how Germany and Japan have handled their World War II crimes is astonishing. All German school children are taught this. German state leaders after WW II have begged for forgiveness on their knees. Japanese school children have no insight into what their forebears were responsible for. China and Korea are still hostile toward Japan because of the inability of the latter to properly apologize. After the national crises have been dealt with, Jared Diamond takes a look at the crisis facing all of us today: depletion of natural resources and climate change. If we do not take a common cause, we are headed for trouble really fast. Particularly since political non-compromise is on the rise. It started in the United States, but what is happening there is likely to spread. The world is becoming a more hostile and unfriendlier place, at the same time that the need to gather around a common cause to save our planet from destruction is becoming all the more acute. Much can be learned from history, should we only care to look.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Jared Diamond begins with how he has dealt with upheavals in his life and applies his strategies and those of others to nations. With this background, this he defines 12 principles that informed the successful responses of Norway, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany and Australia in times of national crisis. The book concludes with the application of these principles to the issues now facing Japan, the US and the world. Diamond selected the countries because he had lived in them and had some familia Jared Diamond begins with how he has dealt with upheavals in his life and applies his strategies and those of others to nations. With this background, this he defines 12 principles that informed the successful responses of Norway, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany and Australia in times of national crisis. The book concludes with the application of these principles to the issues now facing Japan, the US and the world. Diamond selected the countries because he had lived in them and had some familiarity with not just the history but also the people and the language. This made for a non-representative sample. No African country was represented and Asia was represented by Japan which is not typical of Asian countries. The country profiles were excellent. I knew little about Norway and wondered how it had not been swallowed up by the USSR. The differences between Sukarno and Suharto of Indonesia were clearly explained as were the issues of East Timor and New Guinea. The reasons for the vague relationship of Australia to Great Britain are shown to be as unclear as they seem. Regarding Japan, Germany and Chile while these “upheavals” are better known, Diamond provides new (to me) detail. The 12 principles are those of rational planning. They are, essentially, an assessment of where you are and your realistic options. The description of their application to the countries was interesting to me in that it added to the country’s story. Application of these principles to the US, Japan and the world were the weakest sections, and I admit, I skimmed them. The issues of Japan’s population decline, polarization in the US and worldwide climate change, to name one for each section, are well known to the people who will read Diamond. The strength of this book is the analysis of the “upheavals” and their resolutions. The 12 principles make an interesting framework for thought and discussion.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stevenglubbers

    Vanity publication. Ramblings of a marque name with a massive ego ["Instead, this is a book expected to remain in print for many decades." p.17]. Desperately in need of an editor to sharpen the prose and the arguments. The Third Chimpanzee was one of the most rewarding reads I've ever had as it exposed me to new ideas and areas of study. Picking this one up based on the known name left me severely, severely disappointed at the laziness involved in this whole project. p.147 "My understanding of Al Vanity publication. Ramblings of a marque name with a massive ego ["Instead, this is a book expected to remain in print for many decades." p.17]. Desperately in need of an editor to sharpen the prose and the arguments. The Third Chimpanzee was one of the most rewarding reads I've ever had as it exposed me to new ideas and areas of study. Picking this one up based on the known name left me severely, severely disappointed at the laziness involved in this whole project. p.147 "My understanding of Allende is based on the recollections of a Chilean friend of mine who knew him..." Ugh Flip the page for him to assume his audience is a group of idiots and "his younger readers" won't understand why the 1960s saw people opposed to Marxists. Not to fear, he explains it to them in a few quick sentences: "The explanation begins with the fact that, after WWII, the Soviet Union embarked on a policy of world domination and developed its own atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, and intercontinental missiles...After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union responded by accelerating its programs to develop more powerful nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles". History is so easy to explain! See kids? The Soviet Union had bombs and missiles [and then better bombs and missiles] so people were afraid of leftist governments in Chile! Hachette saw a chance to earn $$ by slapping a marque name onto the sweeping generalizations, simplifications and personal musings of an old ego. (And sadly, they were right. The same publishing concept that brought us Pioneers by David McCullough) Cool dude - so you speak 6 languages, know people, and have Japanese cousins in the family you recently married into. You should go have coffee with Thomas Friedman and check if you've both had the same taxi driver at some point. The project can best be summarized in his own words on p. 14. "I had initially hoped to incorporate modern quantitative methods into this book. I devoted months to that effort, only to reach the conclusion that it would have to remain a task for a separate future project." Translation: I had initially hoped to make this a serious work, but a few months in I gave up and just sent my publisher this slapdash, lazy effort. Pass on this one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Care about where this world is headed? Read “Upheaval”! Noted Polymath, Pulitzer Prize winner and respected academic, Diamond’s books are imminently readable and seize your attention right off the bat. As a student of history, I was drawn to his approach to nations challenged by seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Diamond’s revelations of Finland’s, Chile’s, and Japan’s trials and tribulations, ultimately dealt with and solved, are a powerful lesson for the rest of us.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    This third work in Jared Diamond's monumental trilogy that began with, "Guns, Germs, and Steel," and, "Collapse," is both an historical analysis of nations' responses before, during, and after going through periods of crises/upheavals, as well as a very impassioned cri de coeur centering on the most fundamental concept of history writing: that being we should learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others to forestall similar and worse outcomes in our own futures. Though opinion has been mix This third work in Jared Diamond's monumental trilogy that began with, "Guns, Germs, and Steel," and, "Collapse," is both an historical analysis of nations' responses before, during, and after going through periods of crises/upheavals, as well as a very impassioned cri de coeur centering on the most fundamental concept of history writing: that being we should learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others to forestall similar and worse outcomes in our own futures. Though opinion has been mixed as to the explanatory power of the previous two volumes, I have found that most critique is based on a complete ignorance of his writing and represents a grossly stultifying simplification that seems to have been made in advance of these critics actual (if ever) reading of his work. About which he is very frank, the selection process for the representative nations and their upheavals in this book mainly involved the countries with which he has the most experience and where he has lived and spoken the language. These are Chile, Japan, Indonesia, Finland, Germany, Australia, and the United States. The latter, our own country, is discussed as being in a current crisis. He frames the discussion around these nations' periods of crisis with 12 main bullet points: 1. Acknowledgement that one is in a crisis 2. Accept responsibility; avoid victimization, self-pity, and blaming others 3. Building fence/selective change 4. Help from other nations 5. Using other nations as models 6. National identity 7. Honest self-appraisal 8. Historical experience of previous national crises 9. Patience with national failure 10. Situation-specific national flexibility 11. National core values 12. Freedom from geopolitical constraints Though in a work of this scope and dealing with a representative sample so small, you would expect some of the connections to be tenuous, this is NOT the case with this book. Though it is true that Diamond's analyses of some situations and political upheavals will seem overly terse, the connections he draws throughout the narrative are quite potent and his epilogue wraps up this discussion in cogent fashion. His recommendations for further study are prescient and his tone throughout is personal and erudite, as we have come to expect, but maintains a humility for the scope of analysis he is trying to achieve.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved "Guns, Germs and Steel" by this author and had started "Collapse", but was unable to finish it before giving it as a gift for Father's Day a few years back. What I had read of it I liked and did end up getting another copy for me. Just haven't had the time to pick it up again. When I saw that Diamond had a new book out, I was all over it. This book, didn't disappoint, but it didn't Wow me either. There was a LOT of repetition and the beginning seemed to drag on before he actually reached I loved "Guns, Germs and Steel" by this author and had started "Collapse", but was unable to finish it before giving it as a gift for Father's Day a few years back. What I had read of it I liked and did end up getting another copy for me. Just haven't had the time to pick it up again. When I saw that Diamond had a new book out, I was all over it. This book, didn't disappoint, but it didn't Wow me either. There was a LOT of repetition and the beginning seemed to drag on before he actually reached his main thesis. A lot of groundwork to lay down I suppose, but I found much of it to be boring. Not the history of other country parts, that was fascinating and I learned a LOT (if you truly believe that we study The Winter War between Finland and Russia in the States, then I have a bridge to sell you. We barely learn about our own history, but I digress.) So some of this book was un-put-downable, but other parts were, to be slightly rude, a snooze-fest. That may be more of a reflection of my own interests, intelligence level and comprehension than of the book itself, so don't let my boredom deter you from reading this book. He has a lot to say (sometimes ad nauseum), but he is obviously intelligent and knows his stuff. Honestly, this is a book that the world leaders, especially in the states, need to read. The wealthy people too. They are dinged because they aren't trying to solve the problems, they are running away, hunkering down to wait for everything to blow over, then to presumably rise up to take their place as the natural rulers of whatever is left, if there is anything worth ruling over after the mushroom clouds melt away. If anyone can help solve problems, it's those with the money to actually enact programs, studies and educate those who need the education so we don't end up destroying this beautiful blue ball we call "home". Warning, this book is insanely depressing, because honestly, who wants to see the truth brutally spelled out, that we are most likely doomed? Oh, he tries to be all positive, showing how some countries in the past have managed to overcome crisis by getting their act together, but do we really think that is possible now? Humanity is so full of contradictions. We have invented art, the written word, music, architecture, and yet we have also pursued war, genocide, rape and torture. We have created plastic, and then poisoned our planet with it. We have beloved family pets who are more members of the family than animals to us, yet we treat the animals that feed us as unfeeling THINGS when they have feelings (physical and emotional) too and we are destroying the habitat and poaching other animals because, basically, we can. This book will bring all that to the surface and more. You will want to throw this book across the room because it will throw light on the nasty truths of how horrible we can be as a people, as individuals. It pulls no punches, but then, it can't afford to, can it? If we as humanity are to survive, we need to face these truths head-on and instead of blaming someone or thing else, we need to take responsibility and ACT on it. This book's message, at least I think it is, is that of hope. We aren't gone yet. We have a chance to make things better, to make things right. That is my ultimate hope for humanity. That we actually LEARN and act in a way other than to turn tail and hide, or to ignore it and hope it goes away. One thing I need to research is how "green" incinerators are at generating energy. I know garbage is a problem and power is a problem and incinerators take trash and burn it and somehow convert that into energy for towns/cities. Is it more positive or negative? However, this book only briefly discusses solar, wind, nuclear and water power. I very rarely see incinerators mentioned anywhere. Is it because it's so obviously a bad thing or because very few people think about it? Anywho, 3 stars because this book was a bitter pill to swallow and it also dragged in places. I think some editing of the repetition would not have been a bad thing. I also think this is an INCREDIBLY important book that should be read by just about everyone. Highly recommended. Just be prepared to watch cute kitty and puppy videos online every chapter or so to balance out the overwhelming feeling of doom. My thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nyamka Ganni

    I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I'm glad i took my time with it. It made me realize how very limited my knowledge about modern history is. It's almost painful to admit. 😥 Luckily it just fueled my growing interest in global history and world Wars. Liked quotes. “It’s neither possible nor desirable for individuals or nations to change completely, and to discard everything of their former identities. The challenge, for nations as for individuals in crisis, is to figure out which parts of their identit I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I'm glad i took my time with it. It made me realize how very limited my knowledge about modern history is. It's almost painful to admit. 😥 Luckily it just fueled my growing interest in global history and world Wars. Liked quotes. “It’s neither possible nor desirable for individuals or nations to change completely, and to discard everything of their former identities. The challenge, for nations as for individuals in crisis, is to figure out which parts of their identities are already functioning well and don’t need changing, and which parts are no longer working and do need changing.” ― Jared Diamond, Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis “success is not guaranteed to well-intentioned decent people, nor necessarily denied to evil people.” Here are the general frame of how the book organized. 0. Personal crisis of Jared diamond 1. Finland's ww2 crisis I think i might have just fell in love with the Finns! Winter war - how one tiny nation suffered a great loss at war with giant of soviet russia and managed to got to past it with very little support from other nations. 2. Japan First they were curious but untrusting with western invasion. Then they embraced and used rather forcefully? History is full of surprises. Still very enigmatic people in my eyes. I guess I need to read more. 3. Chile Series of incompetent (but problematic) leaders. It is one of the most successful countries of south America. 4. Indonesia Prior knowledge: Land of thousand islands. Jakarta, Bali... Country that is quite new and has relatively short history of national identity as it is comprised of many different tribes and cultures (over 700 languages 😯) Many western powerful countries tried to take control of the islands. Some failed some had somehow limited success. 5. Germany (after the end of WW2) How Germany regained strength and trust of other nations after horrific acts of world war II. German people owned up their war time wrongs and moved on to be one of the affluent countries. 6. Australia - Highly diverse culture - Lack of united national identity? 7. US - most powerful country in the world right now. - Political polarization - Moral decaying - Increasing inequality 8. World possible future threats - Explosion of nuclear bomb - Global climate change - Global resources depletion - Increasing global inequality

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean Chick

    Jared Diamond's latest book is a comparative history of nations in crisis written in simple and direct language. As with his previous books, he makes his share of arguments but is not hidebound to any particular argument. In an era of communist apologetics, he might sound to some like a Cold Warrior with his antipathy for Marxism. In other words, if you are an ideologue, this is not the book for you, and I like that part of it. All in all, the book is perceptive if not particularly deep. For inst Jared Diamond's latest book is a comparative history of nations in crisis written in simple and direct language. As with his previous books, he makes his share of arguments but is not hidebound to any particular argument. In an era of communist apologetics, he might sound to some like a Cold Warrior with his antipathy for Marxism. In other words, if you are an ideologue, this is not the book for you, and I like that part of it. All in all, the book is perceptive if not particularly deep. For instance, his praise of Germany's obsession with past sins is a standard liberal position, but ignores that Germany has created a crisis of self-confidence while at the same time Germany's power within the EU has made its neighbors wary. No amount of apologies for past sins, particularly as the victims and the tormentors die off and the past recedes, is going to make up for current problems. Japan, for its faults, is not undergoing a similar crisis. Diamond's belief that if Japan apologized its neighbors would be "nicer" to them made me laugh. No amount of apologies from the guiltless (most Japanese World War II veterans are dead) is going to mollify a Chinese government that currently jails homosexuals and Uighurs at will. In fact, it would be exploited to its fullest extent by China. This is why Diamond, however perceptive and learned, sounds a bit tired in 2019. The man has no killer instinct and we are entering an age where those who go for the throat get rewarded. After all, how many effective apologies have you seen work on Twitter? Meanwhile, Donald J. Trump never says sorry and just keeps moving on.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jaydosaure

    This book was one of the worst I have ever read and I am horrified that it is so popular. How can people who have an interest in learning about the world be fooled so easily? At first I thought it was just lazy researching and lazy writing, but some of the wordchoices used to describes very complex world history events cannot be just "bad knowledge" of history. It made me question the intentions of diamond behind this book and the partiality of what he presents (and to what ends??). There is not This book was one of the worst I have ever read and I am horrified that it is so popular. How can people who have an interest in learning about the world be fooled so easily? At first I thought it was just lazy researching and lazy writing, but some of the wordchoices used to describes very complex world history events cannot be just "bad knowledge" of history. It made me question the intentions of diamond behind this book and the partiality of what he presents (and to what ends??). There is nothing scientific or thourough in this book; i have many friends across the world too of different backgrounds, are their "feelings and opinions" enough to make a scientific model of analysis? it's tragic really to think he wrote this seriously. Book is blatantly inaccurate and does not bring anything worth discussing or new to the table. It does the opposite by overly simplifying crucial world events... diamond is laughable, I couldnt believe it towards the end when he tried to present considering the actions of important individual political figures to analyse events as something new and exciting by citing some searchers....dude, the individual-level of analysis in international relations is nothing new and you don't have to try to defend it scientifically and present it as your own new way of analysing history... laughable. I won't even mention the sexist comment on the last pages about the two "women" friends talking to one another...apart from appearing sexist, why was this passage important? Anyway, I heard there was an interesting scholar article about some of his previous work, so I will end on by citing it: f*ck jared diamond.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I have read Diamond's earlier book Guns, Germs, and Steel and most of Collapse. I was curious about the theme of Upheaval. I enjoyed reading Diamond's narrative histories of the countries he concentrates on: Finland, Japan, Chile, Germany, Indonesia, and Australia. Especially, I was interested in Finland because my family hosted a Finnish exchange student in 1969-70 when I was in high school and later my husband and I hosted her daughter. The same year I had a Finnish sister I was friends with th I have read Diamond's earlier book Guns, Germs, and Steel and most of Collapse. I was curious about the theme of Upheaval. I enjoyed reading Diamond's narrative histories of the countries he concentrates on: Finland, Japan, Chile, Germany, Indonesia, and Australia. Especially, I was interested in Finland because my family hosted a Finnish exchange student in 1969-70 when I was in high school and later my husband and I hosted her daughter. The same year I had a Finnish sister I was friends with the other exchange students at our school, who were from Japan, Germany, and Chile. The concept of applying psychological concepts applied to personal crisis to nations is interesting. Diamond begins by sharing his own personal crisis over his career choice. He presents the factors that influence a person's ability to weather a crisis. I have to say that when he presents the application of these factors to national crisis my interest flagged. I ended up not finishing the book. I was given access to a free ebook by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Well, Jared Diamond has done it again – putting together a remarkable, informative, fascinating look at history, geography and culture that also illuminates how and why are world exists the way it does today. Guns, Germs and Steel was of course a tour de force that won all the awards; I don't know if Upheaval will do the same, but I loved it. I loved the exploration of world events that were cataclysmic for the nations involved but on the periphery of American textbooks, such as the Finnish-Sovi Well, Jared Diamond has done it again – putting together a remarkable, informative, fascinating look at history, geography and culture that also illuminates how and why are world exists the way it does today. Guns, Germs and Steel was of course a tour de force that won all the awards; I don't know if Upheaval will do the same, but I loved it. I loved the exploration of world events that were cataclysmic for the nations involved but on the periphery of American textbooks, such as the Finnish-Soviet Winter War that coincided with World War II, or the Japanese "decision" to open itself to trade with the West after Admiral Perry sailed into Tokyo Harbor with some warships (an event that receives much different treatment in hagiographic American texts). And I loved Diamond's efforts to filter those events through the prism of personal crises, with an attempt to determine what lessons can be learned from a pair of ongoing national (and several significant worldwide) crises. Diamond's writing style is not my favorite (it could be much more concise and less parenthetical, he says in a parenthetical phrase), but he still manages to tell these stories in a very conversational, relatable way. I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nam Le

    Upheaval, the latest book effort of famed historian and scientist Jared Diamond, is the book discuss about the approaches the several nations had tried to overcome the national crisises. The book is very strange and unconventional in comparison with other works of Dr. Diamond as it is deal with the modern nations (or near-modern nation in the case of Japan), but not something related to his expertises such as physiology, geography of isolated communities, of histories of distant civilisations. Upheaval, the latest book effort of famed historian and scientist Jared Diamond, is the book discuss about the approaches the several nations had tried to overcome the national crisises. The book is very strange and unconventional in comparison with other works of Dr. Diamond as it is deal with the modern nations (or near-modern nation in the case of Japan), but not something related to his expertises such as physiology, geography of isolated communities, of histories of distant civilisations. In addition, it heavily based on the stories, secondary reference sources, and even the narratives of “friends,” not drawing evidences from extensive academic studies like his previous well-known works such as "Guns, Germs, and Steel" or "Collapse." The book open with the two individual crises the author experienced in the past, the burning of Coconut Groves that killed hundreds of people in 1942 and the disatrous PhD tenure of the author at the Cambridge University. From the ways his relatives, friends and even himself had overcome these difficulties, he build the the 12-factors approach to deal with crisis and applied these factors to the different nations in several continents; including Finland, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, and Australia. One thing that can be easily recognised is that this model is extremely faulty and insufficient as the nation/country is much more complex than individuals or small communities and it is nearly impossible to draw the evidences at the national levels as history is never repeated twice and conduct the comparative study between nations in the way they dealed with crises is a close-to-impossible task. Nevertheless, this book is very interesting and fun to read. The author provide a great deal of fascinating information and persuasive explanations for some of the nations such as Japan, Finland, Australia. However, the chapter about Chile and Indonesia are quite brief and insufficient. Unfortunately, some of the crisis cases of the nations have shaped the history of modern word such as China, UK, Iraq, Yugoslavia is missing. The final chapter is the best chapter of the books as the author discuss the crises the contemporary world currently facing of may face in the near future and offer some thoughtful approaches that we may implement to overcome these disasters. By the way, this is a very good book to read for this year. Policymakers and politicians may not need to read this book as thay might know all of these information beforehand. However, if you are a layperson does not know much about history like me, you may enjoy this book a lot.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leif

    Jared Diamond publishes drivel. I was tempted - highly motivated - to write much more. From the ludicrous premise that makes the classic mistake of reducing nations to individuals to the scattergun firing of Diamond's not inconsiderable ego there's a lot of questionable methods and tactics going on here. Worse, to me, were the facile, simplistic, and patently idealized potted histories that Diamond produces in lieu of an actual researched study. He writes that it took him six years to produce thi Jared Diamond publishes drivel. I was tempted - highly motivated - to write much more. From the ludicrous premise that makes the classic mistake of reducing nations to individuals to the scattergun firing of Diamond's not inconsiderable ego there's a lot of questionable methods and tactics going on here. Worse, to me, were the facile, simplistic, and patently idealized potted histories that Diamond produces in lieu of an actual researched study. He writes that it took him six years to produce this book, with much research for each chapter visualized as large stacks of books on each theme. Would that he would have read the books instead of writing this tripe. From covertly silencing the complexities of histories he professes expertise in, such as that of Finland, to actively producing perversities such as an apologia for Pinochet, while at the same time recognizing Pinochet's horrors, the early chapters of this are ripe with lazy history written for an uncritical American audience. (That this is Diamond's chosen audience is reflected in his many asides that are both direct and unmissable.) The chapters that follow further compound banalities and historical occlusions until the reader makes it to the most anodyne vision of global collapse I've read yet in Diamond's closing chapters. But hey, at least it's recognized! Right? The smallest of mercies. These is little to praise here and less to like. Diamond has written a number of words, yet he fails to meet the standards for interest or credibility that are set anywhere from a journal article of academic interest to Wikipedia. I've written enough - more than is merited. Avoid.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert Coleman

    Things this book does well: 1) Cool cover art 2) Dramatic, important-sounding title Things this book doesn't do well: 1) Scholarship 2) Originality and creativity 3) Brevity I don't know how the publishing industry works, but this book seemed like a total cash-grab. Diamond lays out a lame framework, throws together a quick bit of pop-history for a handful of countries, and repeatedly rams that pop-history into the framework. Later, he wheezes ad nauseam about how the US needs to be more like Sweden, h Things this book does well: 1) Cool cover art 2) Dramatic, important-sounding title Things this book doesn't do well: 1) Scholarship 2) Originality and creativity 3) Brevity I don't know how the publishing industry works, but this book seemed like a total cash-grab. Diamond lays out a lame framework, throws together a quick bit of pop-history for a handful of countries, and repeatedly rams that pop-history into the framework. Later, he wheezes ad nauseam about how the US needs to be more like Sweden, how we need stronger global-level political controls, etc. He runs through the same wellworn talking points you've surely heard your exasperated, left-leaning friends whine about 1000 times. The book may be interesting in spurts if you're unfamiliar with certain events (I really knew nothing about Finland's war with the Commies), so at best it's a starting point for deeper dives into those subjects. Having recently read R. Taggart Murphy's excellent Japan book, I know that Diamond had nothing new to add except an abridged, dumbed-down version of events, so I expect his histories of the other countries in the book to be similar upon closer inspection.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nuno R.

    The premise of using personal crisis therapy indicators as a framework for nation wide crisis was not as satisfying as previous books'. Still, the last third of the book was a efficient wrap up and there is a balance and pratical compass that make it useful. Good, but I think that waiting for a book's availability (something I was not used to, because I used to not have any idea of the publishing dates) is not good for me. It creates unnecessary expectations, that will cloud my enjoyment and per The premise of using personal crisis therapy indicators as a framework for nation wide crisis was not as satisfying as previous books'. Still, the last third of the book was a efficient wrap up and there is a balance and pratical compass that make it useful. Good, but I think that waiting for a book's availability (something I was not used to, because I used to not have any idea of the publishing dates) is not good for me. It creates unnecessary expectations, that will cloud my enjoyment and perception of the book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sreyamsa Bairiganjan

    A bit repetitive but Jared Diamond is has a great narrative style. The book is a bit slow as compared to Collapse and his other writings. The analysis of Japan during the Meiji Restoration was neatly done as well as the narration on the presidency under the Pinochet regime in Chile. Decent read but will take time to get through!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.