Why do some societies and civilisations flourish, while others flounder? What happened to those who made the forlorn, abandoned statues of Easter Island? Or to the architects of the crumbling Mayan pyramids? One day, will our skyscrapers stand derelict and overgrown? Many cultures have disintegrated because of environmental crises – and most of those were self induced.  The author takes us on a comprehensive, rich tour of history and the world, with a neat little trip into a possible future. Black and white photos.