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Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis (2019)

by Jared Diamond

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Civilizations Rise and Fall (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9412422,541 (3.75)12
"With his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of why civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how some nations successfully 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 Austria 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."--… (more)
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» See also 12 mentions

English (22)  Spanish (2)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Not as powerful as Guns, Germs, and Steel but still very thought provoking ( )
  BookListener | Jan 18, 2024 |
I’m left a little lukewarm on this one. Not entirely convinced of the argument for similarities between how individuals and nations deal with crises. Mr. Diamond is very methodical in how he lays out his argument, but the case is simply not as compelling is that in his “guns germs and steel“ a work that riveted me and changed how I view western history forever. ( )
  BBrookes | Nov 25, 2023 |
The idea of this book is that there are several factors that determine whether a person is able to recover from a personal crisis, and that similar factors predict whether a nation recovers from a national crisis. Diamond does a lot of contortion trying to make it work, but I fundamentally don't buy the analogy, which seems like more of a marketing gimmick than an organic observation that arose from his reading of history and lived experience.

A result of this approach is that the book is incredibly repetitive, as we keep being reminded what the factors are and how they applied in previous chapters. The epilogue is about 40 pages of high school essay style "say what you've said".

This is a shame because there is some genuinely interesting history in there; I particularly liked the sections on Finland's Winter War and the Japanese response to Perry's arrival. ( )
  NickEdkins | May 27, 2023 |
Outstanding history book, loaded with so much I was never taught and subsequently have never learned.
This book is nowhere near boring life so much of his book Guns, Germs and Steel was. This was actually quite enjoyable to read.
The basic premise is how monumental situations in a number of countries affected those countries and to some degrees various other parts of the world.
The initial 4 countries are
Finland - its war with Russia in at the beginning of WWII.
Japan- the forced opening of the country to the US and Europe in 1853
Chile- the coup and resulting dictatorship of Pinochet.
Indonesia- and its coup in 1965 and the atrocities that followed but to this day are ignored.
Then thee book looks at
Japan and Germany after WWII
Australia- and it working to decide who as a country they are.
The book closes with putting the USA under the microscope lays out what we have done well and where we fail, and details how a Chile like situation could happen here, and what we need to do to change.
The author closes the book by detailing 4 significant issues the world will need to come to grips with,
Written before the Covid pandemic.
Excellent book. ( )
  zmagic69 | Mar 31, 2023 |
This book by Jared Diamond is better than his earlier book, "Collapse." My main critique of that book was that he focussed on what I thought were fragile lands.

He has focussed on how some nations deal with crises in this book. The link to the personal crisis is, in my view, tenuous. I like the manner in which he started by listing twelve factors, then analyzing seven nations along those factors. I am unsure where Australia fits in, except that he is familiar with the country.

The second part of the book, focussing on the way forward, is good, with a strong emphasis on Japan and the USA. I like the part about Germany, which is excellent.

His concluding chapter and epilogue are the showpiece of the book. ( )
  RajivC | Mar 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Jared Diamond is back, now with the final installment of what his publisher describes as his “monumental trilogy.” Where Collapse explored places that failed, the new volume, Upheaval, asks about those that survived. It takes Diamond far from the sorts of societies where he’s felt most alive: the closed-off tribes, the “Stone Age” peoples. Upheaval examines such large countries as the United States, Finland, Japan, and Chile, and mainly in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through them, Diamond hopes to show how nations have made it through destabilizing crises. But what we see instead is how poorly suited his approach—honed on nonindustrial and isolated societies—is for large, connected ones in an age of globalization.
 
Sometimes the book feels written from a drying well of lifelong research rather than from the latest facts. For example, Diamond tells us Americans have always been a highly mobile people and are “unlikely” to “move less often.” He must be unfamiliar with the rather well-publicized new data declaring the opposite: “Fewer Americans Are Moving to Pursue Better Jobs Across the Nation,” NPR says, citing the Census Bureau’s research that the number of Americans who move in a given year has dropped by half since the 1940s.

There are far more of these errors than I have space to list, too many to dismiss this calling-out as nit-picking. And they matter because of the book’s nature. If we can’t trust you on the little and medium things, how can we trust you where authors of 30,000-foot books really need our trust — on the big, hard-to-check claims?
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jared Diamondprimary authorall editionscalculated
Neugarten, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van der Burgh, DirkCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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At one or more times during our lives, most of us go through a personal upheaval or crisis, which may or may not get resolved successfully through our making personal changes. -Prologue
At the age of 21, I experienced the most severe crisis of my young life. -Chapter 1
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"With his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of why civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how some nations successfully 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 Austria 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."--

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