Collapse by Jared Diamond

Easter Island is famously one of the remotest places in the world.  It is also famous for its huge statues.  They are both relics of and key components of one of the most haunting of tales of environmental destruction.  The inhabitants of Easter Island arrived by boat and created a unique culture, of which the erection of their statues was a key part.  But this culture was not sustainable.  It required the use of large quantities of wood, and over a few centuries all the wood was used up.  

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Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

Since it came out in 1997 Guns, Germs and Steel is a book that has been much discussed and praised. It has been at the top of my to read list for some time. It has taken me rather a while to actually get round to reading it. I was waiting for it to come out in either audio or on Kindle in the UK. In the end I gave up and simply bought the paperback, whereupon, as I should have expected, it instantly appeared in both the formats I had a preference for. But I am not unhappy. Having read it, I think this is one of those books that you really want in physical form. It has just a few too many maps and tables to make it comfortable to absorb electronically and it is thought provoking enough that you really want to be able to take the time to mull them over.

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