The latest number of Reviews in Anthropology has a long review article by “Joseph Tainter”:http://www.cnr.usu.edu/envs/htm/directory-plugin/memberID=837 entitled “Collapse, Sustainability, and the Environment: How Authors Choose to Fail or Succeed”:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a905053520~db=all~order=page. I am not an expert on anthropogenic climate change by any means, but I am someone who gets asked about Jared Diamond all the time, so I found it an extremely useful and evenhanded evaluation not just of _Collapse_ but of other books written in a similar vein.
To be honest I’ve never gotten very far into _Collapse_ — it isn’t as lucid as _Guns, Germs, and Steel_ and doesn’t feature New Guinea (my area of research) nearly as prominently. Tainter’s analysis of the book, though, seems to jive more or less with what the emerging scholarly consensus on GG&S: as a popularization of other people’s work it is quite good, the bits that are Diamond’s own contribution are flawed and wrong, and Diamond does as much as possible (short of straight up plagiarism) to take credit for the work of other scholars who he popularizes.
I don’t have the strong emotional reaction to Diamond’s work that other people do, so it is refreshing to see an article which can point out the flaws of Diamond’s work in a relatively disinterested way. I highly recommend the article to others — I imagine it is ‘teachable’ as well.