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Kislak Lecture to Focus on Success of Societies

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond will deliver the inaugural Jay I. Kislak Lecture tonight at the Library of Congress.

Diamond, also an evolutionary biologist, physiologist and biogeographer, is best known for his 1997 book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” in which he uses case studies to describe the role geography plays in societal development. For his new book, “Collapse: How Societies Choose or Fail to Succeed,” and for tonight’s lecture of the same name, Diamond has turned his attention to the roles humans play in that same development and will discuss why some civilizations have collapsed and what we can learn from them.

In addition to the Pulitzer, Diamond has received numerous awards for his research. He is a professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles, research associate in ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and research associate in ornithology and mammalogy at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

The lecture takes place at 7 p.m. tonight in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited.

The Kislak Lecture is part of the Kislak American Studies Program, which was established at the LOC in 2004 by the Jay I. Kislak Foundation. The gift also includes books, documents and maps of the Americas, as well as some of the earliest records of indigenous people in North America. Parts of the Kislak Collection are on view through Sept. 24 in the Library’s Great Hall.

— Amy Carlile