Upheaval Turning Points for Nations in Crisis PDF/EPUB


Upheaval Turning Points for Nations in Crisis ”An example of presumed lack of models is provided by the US today for which belief in American exceptionalism translates into the widespread belief that the US 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 cultureswith 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 fatherlandsmotherlands 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 exceptionalWhat 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 eual the consumption of ONE American 32Thank goodness the population growth of the US is nearly flat because really how many 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 3700000 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 500000 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 about how they accomplished it but you really need to read the Diamond assessment I will say eually impressive has been the way that Finland has positioned itself between the West and the Russians to make it advantageous for the Russians to let them continue to exist as a sovereign nation rather than attempting once again to conuer and control themCommodore 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 uniue 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 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 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 of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at 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 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 reuires 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 challengeis 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 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 futureJared Diamond image from New York MagazineTo 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 crisis2 Acceptance of one’s personal responsibility to do something3 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 groups5 Using other individuals as models of how to solve problemsThis 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 nationalsocietal 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 subseuent 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 SocietyDiamond 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 laborLa Moneda Chile’s presidential palace under fire during the 1973 coup image from CUNY BrooklynDiamond 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 WarNobel Peace Price recipient German Chancellor Willy Brandt image from International NewsThere 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 dictatorAs 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 uestion 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 problemsGough 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 examinationReview posted – June 7 2019Publication date May 7 2019 Hardcover May 14 2020 Trade PaperbackEXTRA STUFFThe author’s personal websiteInterviews Jared Diamond’s Books of His Life by Elizabeth Khuri Chandler – 2515 – 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 worldone 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 AnthonyJared Diamond on video Video – Diamond on the demise of compromise How America could become a dictatorship in 10 years 518 Jared Diamond on Upheaval Trump Brexit 901 Jared Diamond's immigration thought experiment Divide the strong and weak 341 Bill Gates My conversation with Jared Diamond 254 – focus on causes for optimism and concerns about problems with communication PBS – Amanpour and Company Jared Diamond on How Nations Overcome Crises 259Music Pick Yourself Up by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern – performed by Frank Sinatra 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 US crisis or upheaval He begins in Finland discussing the huge mobilization of Finns 16 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 US had been twice recently invaded and millions killed to need allied buffer nations if only to prevent 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 – ie 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 US embassy “standing by” during the entire mass murder of the 500000 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 reuires 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 US 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 Bacue 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 Bacue Then uick 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 10000000 from ExxonMobil wrongkindofgreenorg That keeps indigenous off conservation protected lands in Guyana culturalsurvivalorg 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 “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 US 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 “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 RussiaAfghan War while ignoring US 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 US we use 32x energy to do everything and consume 32x 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 US 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 mythJared 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 wo 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 US 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 500000 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 US political will against entrenched capitalist resistance if the US 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 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 crisisupheavals to his own personal crisisupheaval 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 reuirements 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 changeFor 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 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 crisesIn one way this might be fine if all we just wanted lite anecdotes but this particular book is simultaneously and less than that Less psychological analogical And in that it is surprisingly broad based detailed and historically accurateDiamond 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 immediacyI 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 nasty habits while taking into account some of the obviously positive accounts of the country's growth during that timeI 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 the5 million to 2 million dead of course but hell both are bad in their waysThe others about Germany post war and Austrailia post British Empire were good and interesting as well but I think I was a bit interested in the early Japanese post Shogunate and post WWII historical periodsThe 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 uite 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 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 uantitative analysis involved The author even states that a uantitative analysis to try and prove his personal crisisnational 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 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 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 uantitative 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 uick and easy to read and definitely a good starter point for layman interested in gaining knowledge of national crisis in history Other than that it could be passed over for 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 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 commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crisesDiamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals ranging from the forced opening of Japan by US 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 Diamond in the RoughAlbert 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 itThe book exists at three levels the individual the nation and the world The factors relating to their crises can be uite similar The bulk of the book is on seven countries Diamond has had relationships with having lived andor 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 crisisA 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 problemsAs 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 crisisThese are Diamond’s 12 factors for national crises1 National consensus that one’s nation is in crisis2 Acceptance of national responsibility to do something3 Building fence to delineate the national problems needing to be solved4 Getting material and financial help from other nations5 Using other nations as models of how to solve the problems6 National identity7 Honest national self appraisal8 Historical experience of previous national crises9 Dealing with national failure10 Situation specific national flexibility11 National core values12 Freedom from geopolitical constraintsThe 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 timeThings 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 euipped to make the efforts the model stipulates to come out the other side of the crisis decentlyThe 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 uestions Diamond has created an interesting matrix for future study but its application to the real world remains a uestion mark It was a good exercise but of indeterminate valueDavid Wineberg 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

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