Coherence of the bookHow would you rate the overall thematic coherence of the book, and do you believe the author has made a persuasive case for his positions?
Diamond's books are typically very coherent and this one is no different. It sticks closely to what it is trying to do and does not contradict itself.
Persuasive? That's a little harder. I'm a social science type and so I think that Diamond doesn't pay quite enough attention to things that happen in the human sphere of things. I know that he says that societies choose to collapse and that choice is in the human realm. But I think that societies can collapse for reasons other than environmental reasons. I think that societies can collapse because of really bad choices by their people and/or leaders on issues that are not related to the environment.
I agree that Diamond is a compelling writer whose work always is characterised by a high degree of coherence. However, it is important to remember that he presents one argument and does his best to justify it. His writing is always very persuasive in terms of the way that he supports his arguments, however, it is important to ask ourselves what other alternative explanations could be used to explain the collapse of civilisations. Certainly, his focus does seem to be on environmental considerations, where it is possible to argue there are other more important factors that could be used to analyse the collapse of societies.