Upheaval

Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
Narrated by: Henry Strozier
Length: 18 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,096 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A brilliant new theory of how and why some nations recover from trauma and others don't, by the author of the landmark best sellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse

In his earlier best sellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in the final audiobook in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crisis through selective change - a coping mechanism more commonly associated with personal trauma. 

In a dazzling comparative study, Diamond shows us how seven countries have survived defining upheavals in the recent past - from US Commodore Perry's arrival in Japan to the Soviet invasion of Finland to Pinochet's regime in Chile - through a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation, and he identifies patterns in the way that these distinct nations recovered from calamity. Looking ahead to the future, he investigates whether the US and the world are squandering their natural advantages on a path toward political conflict and decline. Or can we still learn from the lessons of the past? 

Adding a psychological dimension to the awe-inspiring grasp of history, geography, economics, and anthropology that marks all Diamond's work, Upheaval reveals how both nations and individuals can become more resilient. The result is an audiobook that is epic, urgent, and groundbreaking.

©2019 Jared Diamond (P)2019 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Upheaval

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Where are the charts and figures for Audible?

There are frequent references to two tables and other figures. Are these accessible to Audible listeners?

32 people found this helpful

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Change the Speed

The book is great. The speed of the narrator is too slow. Change the audio speed to 1.25 for a significantly better listening experience.

44 people found this helpful

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Terrible narration, buying it in paper instead

I have never had trouble reading Jared Diamond 's books. This one, has put me to sleep several times already. The narrator is incredibly boring and monotone. Terrible,that Diamond's excellent material gets distorted like this.

35 people found this helpful

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  • JD
  • 12-01-19

Not sure I get it.

If asked who "my famous author is", I'd likely answer "Jared Diamond" until I read this book. I don't get it. Maybe it was the pressure to publish or just hubris, but I don't get it and I don't care. I read his other books twice each, but didn't finish this. Sorry, but this is just not relevant.

7 people found this helpful

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Interesting but irritating at times

This is an account of the recent history (mainly the last 60 or so years) of countries that Jared Diamond has visited frequently or lived in for an extended period. It is thus takes a subjective approach, based mainly on the the author's personal perspective and the perspectives of the people he came to know in these countries. Why and how countries change is difficult to pin down but the author has tried to do this by assessing each chosen country in terms of a list of change factors. The experiences and perspectives of the author in these countries are interesting but he has taken a highly opinionated approach, which I found irritating, especially when the issues involved are not as clear cut as he makes them out to be. He also tended to digress at times, again quite irritating (the low point: talking about which Australian wines he liked best). I certainly benefitted from listening to this book and, if nothing else, it has inspired me to find out more about these countries in order to gain a broader perspective.

16 people found this helpful

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Historical narrative for modern times!

Whether the leader of a family or leader of the free world, you need to read this book. This sometimes cerebral look at what history can teach us about where we are in this country will give you a new perspective and encouragement to do something about it. It starts when we realize that democracies are only an advantage if we compromise to move the best ideas forward. Otherwise, we do have something to worry about from the Chinese economy.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

4 people found this helpful

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The Urine of the Earth in a Teacup

Please read this book!

I remember hearing the term, “Historical Theory” as an undergraduate in the 1980’s, and I wondered how a “factual” subject like history could possibly have a theoretical component. Over time, I learned that our operating theories, our perspectives, our frames, our expectations, and our programming matter more to every human activity than the facts. Facts are important, but authors pick facts selectively, choose words purposefully, and express findings based on internalized models. Every academic discipline has a theory. Every human has an operating system, an internal theory, too.

Here you have metatheory, theory, and eggs of theory essential to human discourse. Jared Diamond is a polymath; he communicates the emotional fight or flight syndrome of the tortured whale swimming in the ocean of human fireworks while his heart beats on the drum of experimental thinking in the manner of Jonas Salk; he links together his conversations with the prejudiced German or Australian with the nose to smell our common survival fears; his touch is not just the handshake of the Lebanese bird watcher, but also that of the economist seated near the tinderbox anger of modern serfs sick of “rags to riches” myths. He tasted the urine of earth, found it sugary, and gives us his best treatment theories in a world still to invent insulin.

Is it dull? Not at all. I did not want to miss a single word. Is it important or relevant, this history book? Absolutely. Diamond’s inner political scientist and inner psychologist informs us of our warts and beauty marks here in the United States within the context of selected global comparisons and contrast. Our leaders, entrepreneurs, monied classes, and citizens must open their hearts, brains, and stomachs to the warnings and potentials provided by Diamond. I want more, Professor. Please continue! Diamond’s discussions of the warts and beauty marks of other countries, such as modern Japan, should be “Eureka” moments for other countries, too. We have only one planet, and, as Diamond points out, we cannot look to the galaxy of other known Earths for ideas.

Diamond’s style is intuitive; almost each time I thought, “but what about xyz?” he soon addressed my concern as if he had anticipated my question. This book is easy to follow, but it is not overly simplistic. Is this a book any academic with access to a research library could write? Not a chance. Personal experiences and ponderings across decades inform the results. Is the book contrary to academic research? Very few passages seem to cross the line of unsubstantiated opinion or Diamond’s personal bias. Is it a book of solutions? No. It is a book that gifts verbal concepts to test. It is a book that highlights both incremental change and paradigm shift. It is a book about the medicine of sustainability and the “chronic, incurable, hard to cure diseases” of the political man. It is a book about crimes, failures, lessons, guilts, lack of introspection, mistakes, successes, social responsibilities, democracies, stratifications, social liberalisms, sacrifices, survivals, threats, random chances, plans, and our daily bread. Is your urine sugary? We fix the Earth’s diabetes one operating system at a time.

I enjoyed this reading on Audible, but I felt disadvantaged because Audible does not provide access to the charts and tables referenced by Diamond. I will complain to Audible about the need for a pdf companion. If that fails, I will consider buying a companion Kindle version of this book; it is important and essential information. I do not mind investing in two versions of this Diamond book.

I repeat: Please read this book, and let’s make the future better.

65 people found this helpful

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THE WISDOM OF AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE

Jared Diamond wrote this book at the ripe old age of 82. You can quibble with his names and dates here and there—forgetfulness sets in sooner or later, alas—but his erudition shines through regardless on every page. Diamond speaks more than ten languages and has lived an extraordinary life. He’s smarter than you. So quit the nitpicking, shut up, and listen to the man. I think you’ll find that he’s remarkably wise.

12 people found this helpful

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Countries in trouble have a common thread

Revealing history of countries that failed to control their own greedy and evil leaders. Brings to mind the old adage, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it

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Interesting history

I learned a lot of history of all the countries mentioned in the book. That's great. However, the analysis with the framework is a little bit boring, not too exciting. The epilogue is also not too interesting.

Sometimes, the quality of the sound is not smooth and equal.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-20

Insightful and brilliant

Jared Diamond is a favourite author of mine as this book upholds that. Absolutely recommend!

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  • Evelyn
  • 05-08-20

nice but not too nice

very useful but not as exceptional as I expected. Also everything about data technology and internet is not mentioned

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  • Sasho Bogoevski
  • 01-11-20

Outstanding

Diamond continues his brilliant and unique approach at analyzing big topics with tremendous insights and focus.

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  • EMS
  • 11-29-19

Great book.

Once again Jared Diamond writes another excellent book that explains pretty much everything you need to know

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  • Alexander e
  • 09-25-19

Thought provoking

Well presented with very detailed analysis on very unique crises’s experienced by different countries.
Didn’t expect this to provide such interesting information and takes on it

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  • daveo
  • 09-18-19

Good content, weird style

This book not as brilliant as his previous books but still interesting and original. The attempt to synthesise personal psychology with culture, history and geography doesn't really work, but it is thought provoking. Big problems with this book are: needs editing for style and length - it's too dense and academic in style for the popular market. And a trily godawful style of presentation, plodding, boring voice. Lots of needless repetition and qualification. Also no concession to audio, "see table 1.1", "at the bottom of the page", dont say "e.g." say for example etc. Are they too scared to edit the great prof Diamond?

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  • Anthony
  • 07-04-19

Interesting, but slow and drawn out

Lots of history, but not enough reference back to the book title and topic. Examples seemed to be picked because they fitted the model under discussion, rather than developed or proved it.

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  • Nagarajan
  • 06-17-19

An eye opener

A timely narrative in the current but volatile political situations. Thoroughly enjoyed it, excellent narration.

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  • Craig
  • 06-03-19

excellent!

superb except for the USA portion, not interesting or entirely relevant to the core aims of the book.

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  • Birrarung fan
  • 10-22-19

A dry history book

Disclaimer: I didn’t finish it. I was really looking forward to it because Guns Germs and Steel blew my mind, and Collapse was also excellent.

I even had to check that it was same Jarred Diamond.

This was very different and painfully boring in the way I find war history painfully boring.

I may have gotten more out of it if I gave it my full attention but for what it’s worth, I wasn’t inspired to continue.

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  • Gordon
  • 06-20-19

Interesting perspectives

I liked the authors effort to apply crisis management steps used by people towards crisis that have occurred in his selected countries.

It was interesting to consider Australia being in Upheaval. The author gave me some new perspectives on my home country due to his approach.

PS - thx for the recommendation Bill;-)

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  • Louis Cohalan
  • 04-04-20

Good historical survey

Interesting history lesson to broaden one’s exposure and ponder the future. If new to Diamond, best to read G,G&S or 3rd Chimp before. They are much better. The narrator mispronounced a few things which a good producer should have noticed. Especially « Pinochet ». A bit long and repetitive, best enjoyed at 1.25x.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amnon
  • 03-09-20

Important book yet told in too many details

I love Gerard Diamond’s books. Guns germs AB has steel was a real life changer for me and Collapse was delightfully fascinating. This book isn’t bad but is somewhat written more like a scientific paper than a non fiction book. At times the scope is too much e.g a lengthy chapter about climate change. It’s definitely important but should have been left out of scope. Also there are frequent references to tables yet no PDF with details is available. I had to find the physical book in a shop, take photos of the table and keep them on my phone for reference. Still a worthy book with an interesting point of view.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tomas Vik
  • 07-21-19

Great ideas in unnecessarily talkative book

The history described in this book is astonishing and I had no idea those events happened. the current crises are very thought provoking. the format of the book is hard to digest and unnecessarily talkative. And the audiobook is not easy to digest. eg it reads table and then references it the whole book

2 people found this helpful

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  • Shaun Haddrill
  • 08-09-20

A wake-up call for some nations

An interesting comparison between very different states. Detailing the stories of upheaval across the globe and the story of bouncing back, cold comfort for those who have lived through such experiences.

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  • Brendan
  • 05-23-20

The central idea is weak

The short historical case studies are interesting in themselves, but the central idea of the relationship between national crises and personal crises is rather weak and unconvincing.

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  • Vince in Perth
  • 03-26-20

I felt like I was sitting in a University lecture

I have read some of the authors prior books which led me to this one. Sadly the content of this one was not as compelling and it’s delivery on Audible disappointing.
As for the content I found a number of the chapters felt dated and some of the narrative and conclusions shallow. In a couple of cases (Australia and Japan) the conclusions and opinions were also questionable.
But what I found most difficult with this book was it is not well suited for Audible. It has the pace and complex contents and details of a University text book and frankly was very difficult to listen to. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it in traditional sense (hard copy).

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  • Jo Maartens
  • 07-10-19

History in our lifetime

Select case studies with useful insights. Agree with author re quantitative follow up to assessments made. Narrator is very engaging.