A "riveting and illuminating" (Yuval Noah Harari) new theory of how and why some nations recover from trauma and others don't, by the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of the landmark bestsellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse.
In his earlier bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in the final book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crisis through selective change -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with personal trauma.
In a dazzling comparative study, Diamond shows us how seven countries have survived defining upheavals in the recent past -- from US Commodore Perry's arrival in Japan to the Soviet invasion of Finland to Pinochet's regime in Chile -- through a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation, and he identifies patterns in the way that these distinct nations recovered from calamity. Looking ahead to the future, he investigates whether the United States, and the world, are squandering their natural advantages, on a path towards political conflict and decline. Or can we still learn from the lessons of the past?
Adding a psychological dimension to the awe-inspiring grasp of history, geography, economics, and anthropology that marks all Diamond's work, Upheaval reveals how both nations and individuals can become more resilient. The result is a book that is epic, urgent, and groundbreaking.
About the Author
Jared Diamond, a noted polymath, is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Among his many awards are the U.S. National Medal of Science, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of the international best-selling books Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, Why Is Sex Fun?, The World until Yesterday, and The Third Chimpanzee, and is the presenter of TV documentary series based on three of those books.
"Jared Diamond does it again: another rich, original, and fascinating chapter in the human saga, this one on how societies have extricated themselves from wicked crises-with vital lessons for our difficult times."—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now
"A riveting and illuminating tour of how nations deal with crises -- which might hopefully help humanity as a whole deal with our present global crisis."—Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
"A new book by Jared Diamond is always a rare and welcome gift. I read them all as part of a single mosaic that, could it ever be fully completed, would finally reveal us to ourselves with haunting insight and clarity, as well as the planet we have the privilege to inhabit. Each book adds more interlocking pieces to that fascinating mosaic. In Upheaval, I find eye-opening lessons about the political and psychological forces that lead to crisis and then resilience, how individuals and nations experience trauma in similar ways, and what that suggests about our future and the world's. Fortunately for us, Diamond's remarkable gift for learning languages has allowed him to live under the surface of various cultures throughout his life, traveling extensively, both mentally and physically, while witnessing many dramatic personal and national upheavals firsthand. His ability to weigh them all with a compassionate heart, a keen eye and an eloquent pen have made him the masterful observer of the human pageant and the important man of conscience that he is. I'm deeply grateful for this wise and beautiful book."—Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper's Wife
"Jared Diamond is one of the deepest thinkers and most authoritative writers of our time -- arguably of all time -- and Upheaval proves his prescience in analyzing historical crises within nations at a time when national crises have erupted around the world. It is also his most personal work, sharing with readers his own crises, along with his intimate familiarity with many countries that have experienced upheavals, and then drawing out lessons of crisis management for nations today and in the future. No scientist has ever won the Nobel Prize for literature. Jared Diamond should be the first."
—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of Heavens on Earth