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What happened to the people who built the ruined temples of Angkor Wat, the long-abandoned statues of Easter Island, the crumbling Maya pyramids of the Yucatan? All saw their cultures collapse because of environmental crises. And it looks as if those crises were self-induced. Jared Diamond investigates the fate of past human societies, and the lessons for our own future. As in his celebrated global bestseller Guns, Germs and Steel, he brings together new evidence from a startling range of sources to tell a story with epic scope. And he lends it urgency for the modern world by probing the roots of decisions which allowed some societies to avoid ecological catastrophe, while others succumbed. How, he asks, can we learn to be survivors?

Praise for Collapse:

Guns, Germs and Steel was remarkable for the clarity of its argument, a quite immense breadth of learning and, importantly, sheer readability. Collapse has all the same qualities ... Reading his book in the shadow of [December’s] tsunami, it is impossible not to feel how fragile our hold on the earth is, and how closely connected all our lives are. Diamond's message shouldn't be ignored.”— Robert Hanks, Daily Telegraph

Collapse combines a panoramic understanding of ecological and historical processes with a feeling for places and people that comes from a lifetime spent under different roofs and different skies.
This wisdom gives it an air of serenity despite its turbulent and tragic stories.” — Marek Kohn, Evening Standard

Click here or on the book cover to purchase your copy of Collapse from

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Jared Diamond
ISBN: 0713992867
Published: 2005
Format: Hardcover

With more than fifty million viewers, Al Jazeera is one of the most widely watched news channels in the world. It's also one of the most controversial.
       The eccentric Emir of Qatar turned a failed BBC Arabic television project into an Arab news channel. Financed by one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Al Jazeera quickly established itself as the premiere news channel in the Islamic world, by covering events Arabs cared about in a way they had never seen before. The channel became a household name after September 11th by delivering some of the biggest scoops in television history, including airing a taped speech from Osama Bin Laden.
       Accusations of ties to Al Qaeda continue to plague it. The channel’s journalists have been accused of spying for everyone from Mossad to Saddam Hussein, sometimes simultaneously. Yet, though it is lambasted as a mouthpiece for Al Qaeda, little is actually known about Al Jazeera and its operations.
       This the story behind the Arab news channel that makes the news.

Click here to purchase your copy of Al Jazeera from

Al Jazeera

Hugh Miles
ISBN: 0349118078
Published: 2005
Format: Trade Paperback

The summer of 1967, at a decaying house in the heart of Suffolk: an artist is painting a portrait of thirteen-year-old Maisie and her elder sisters, beautiful Julia and bookish Finn. Maisie embarks on a portrait of her own: she begins an account of her family and of her village friend Daniel Nunn, a young man she idolises, whom she watches over the chasm of a class divide. But is Maisie’s description of a summer idyll all it seems? This is the summer when the three sisters’ lives will irrevocably, and terribly, change.
       The winter of 1991, in London: the now-famous portrait of the three sisters features in a major retrospective. Daniel Nunn, haunted by the vanished England of his childhood, obsessed by the three sisters and newly determined to understand what happened that last summer, pursues the ghosts of his past.

Praise for Sally Beauman:

“Beauman is a skilful writer who manages a complicated plot with a magician’s mastery, flicking between viewpoints and periods, always smooth and deceptive, surprising the reader all the way” — Sunday Telegraph

“Sally Beauman weaves an intricate web of relationships with an element of surprise that hooks readers to the end”— Woman and Home (UK)

About the author:
Sally Beauman read English at Girton College, Cambridge. She worked as a journalist in America and Britain before beginning to write fiction. She is the author of six previous novels, including the acclaimed Rebecca's Tale.

Click here to purchase your copy of The Landscape of Love from

The Landscape of Love

Sally Beauman
ISBN: 0316729434
Published: 2005
Format: Trade Paperback but also available as an audiobook!

Set both in the present and in the dust-laden reaches of Angola in 1976, Buried in the Sky is an album of stories about men and women and war.
       To the strains of the music of Bob Dylan and in long periods of boredom and inactivity, South Africa's soldiers tried to make sense of a war they could not see. Rick Andrew, himself a conscript at that time, allows his comrades to tell their stories. We get to know Manie Dippenaar, whose hunting trip threatened to turn into an international incident; Private Smith, the boy from the Bluff who had Love and Hate tattooed on his knuckles and chose a novel way to roast a chicken as his means of revenge on a bad tempered major; Morphine Sister, who handled a gun like a mamba; and Spek, the surfer-boy who dreamed only of catching the next big wave.
      Poignant, funny and dramatic, Buried in the Sky will strike a chord with anyone whose life has been tarnished by war, and especially those who found themselves on "the border".

Click here to purchase your copy of Buried in the Sky from

Buried in the sky

Rick Andrew
ISBN: 0141003049
Re-released: 2005
B Format Paperback

"Can I drive the car?" is a familiar refrain for most parents. But in dealing with this issue of control, trust and training, is there a lesson to be learnt, a lesson that can be applied by leaders in the business environment?
       Leadership trainer Keith Coats thinks so, and has written a witty and instructive book that draws on everyday events in the life of his family, pointing out how these experiences translate into important lessons in leadership.
       Whether they are issues of control or communication, inspiration or loyalty, or simply getting through the tough times, Coats explores the universal lessons we learn as parents and shows how to apply them in the boardroom, the office or the factory.

About the author:
Keith Coats was born and grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Prior to being a founding partner in the consultancy (where his title is Director of Storytelling), Keith worked in the non-profit, volunteer-based sector. Highly regarded for his leadership style, facilitation ability and human development skills, Keith has lectured in Leadership and Management at the Natal Technikon. He is a sought after international speaker on leadership and human development issues, having consulted and trained in places as diverse as Hawaii, Moscow and Swakopmund.

* Keith Coats will be on author tour in Johannesburg in February * For more infomation visit the Penguin Books South Africa website

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learnt from the Kids

Keith Coats
ISBN: 0143024671
Published: 2005
B Format Paperback

  • For previous new book features from Penguin, click here
    Amazing articles!
  • Zoe Molver invites us to share some reflections on Marguerite Poland's novel Recessional For Grace
  • Clea Koff is the Bone Woman - Alan G Morris reviews the memoirs of her life as a forensic anthropologist
    Interviews galore!
  • Richard Mason spoke to LitNet about his latest novel, Us
  • We interview CEO of Penguin Books, Alison Lowry, about firing up young authors in South Africa
  • Read Rachelle Greeff's exclusive interview feature with Penguin author, Gillian Slovo
  • Read our ricochet interview with Penguin author, Barabara Erasmus

    LitNet: 02 February 2005

    Have your say! Read any good books lately? Have you read any of these authors or new books? Tell us about it by sending an email to Or write to and become a part of our interactive opinion page.

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