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Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

(Civilizations Rise and Fall #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  8,156 ratings  ·  1,045 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
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Gianluca L'uscita in Italia è prevista per il prossimo autunno.…moreL'uscita in Italia è prevista per il prossimo autunno.(less)

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Bill Gates
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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 ...more
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?
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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
...more
Randall Wallace
May 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Mehrsa
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
fourtriplezed
Jan 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: my-non-fiction
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
...more
Bradley
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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 ...more
David Wineberg
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Chris Leuchtenburg
May 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: world
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 ...more
Faith
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
“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 ...more
Brian Griffith
I gobbled up Diamond's surveys of how specific nation's have responded to crises. His comparisons are arbitrary but wide-ranging and stimulating: Finland, Japan, Chile, Germany, Indonesia, Australia, and the USA. Sometimes the explanations get a bit ponderous with some repetition, but who cares? What does it take to overcome crisis? From his vast overview, Diamond finds some things obvious: You have to admit you have a crisis. You have to take responsibility rather than just blame others. You ha ...more
Stephen Yoder
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
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
...more
Stevenglubbers
Jul 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
The latest book by the author of the brilliantly thought provoking “Guns, Germs and Steel” – one of the few non-religious non-fiction books to change my way of viewing the world

The book starts with what the author says are 12 principles that crisis therapists have developed as making it more or less likely that an individual will succeed in resolving/coming through a personal crisis (acknowledgement of the crisis, acceptance of personal responsibility, building a fence to delineate the problem t
...more
Laura Noggle
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction, history
“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
...more
Megan Bell
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
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 ...more
Tanja Berg
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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
...more
Louise
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Eric
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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.
Nyamka Ganni
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, war, non-fiction
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
...more
Dan Graser
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jado
Sep 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Sean Chick
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Will Ansbacher
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Guns, Germs and Steel was ground-breaking, Collapse was more repetitious though still an interesting read, but Upheaval is stuck in a formulaic straitjacket.

Let’s begin with Diamond’s notion to analyse national upheavals using the framework of personal crises. He describes twelve factors that indicate whether a client in short-term crisis therapy can expect to resolve their issue. These include elements like acceptance of responsibility, honest self-appraisal, ability to learn from others and so
...more
Jen
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Nancy
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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
...more
Robert Coleman
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-reads
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
...more
Shira
Nov 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Adaptation, cooperation, and learning from historical mistakes. Those seem to be the boiled down keys to national as well as personal recovery from traumatic events, although he uses a few more steps, including honest self appraisal, which I wrap up as part of learning from the past. He notes the need to look squarely at history without blaming or avoiding. Those are crucial first steps.

He cites many issues that we know how to solve, but seem unwilling to deal with, like consumption and fisheri
...more
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Jared Mason Diamond is an American geographer, historian, ornithologist, and author best known for his popular science books The Third Chimpanzee; Guns, Germs, and Steel; Collapse, The World Until Yesterday, and Upheaval. He is Professor of Geography at UCLA and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Other books in the series

Civilizations Rise and Fall (4 books)
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
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Articles featuring this book

"A generation which ignores history has no past and no future."   This famous quotation, from science fiction grand master Robert A. Heinlein,...
49 likes · 11 comments
“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.” 8 likes
“Rigidity or inflexibility can be the result of a previous history of abuse or trauma, or of an upbringing that offered a child no permission to experiment or to deviate from the family norms. Flexibility can come from the freedom of having been allowed to make one’s own choices as one was growing up.” 7 likes
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