Amongst the Ruins: Why Civilizations Collapse and Communities Disappear

Virtual Event

Join WMF Britain Executive Director John Darlington for the virtual launch of his latest book, Amongst the Ruins: Why Civilizations Collapse and Communities Disappear. The online event will present the book’s main themes and stories, and feature a conversation between John and historian and television presenter Dan Snow. It will be followed by a live Q&A session.

Date: Thursday, May 4, 2023
Time: 12:00 noon EST | 5:00 pm BST

John Darlington and Dan Snow, 2023.

John Darlington and Dan Snow, 2023.

Amongst the Ruins

Amongst the Ruins explores the loss of ancient civilizations, the collapse of ruling elites, and the disappearance of more recent communities and their local traditions. Some of these are now sealed under 3,000-year-old peat, others lost to rising seas or sands, and the carcasses of twentieth-century buildings which serve as reminders of the destructive power of war.

These compelling stories of fallen or lost places are brought together through themes of war, climate change, natural hazards, human self-destruction, and simple economics. From the ice of the Arctic fringe, through to the desert landscapes of North Africa, by way of South America’s high mountains and Southeast Asia’s urban sprawl, Amongst the Ruins charts the rise and fall of places and communities around the world, the fascinating characters associated with them, and the important events that punctuate their history. Exploring wide-ranging examples from prehistory to the present day, John Darlington challenges us to recognize past failures and identify what we need to do to protect the cultures of our current world.

Amongst the Ruins is published by Yale University Press, and will be available in the United States starting April 25, 2023. 

John Darlington

Executive Director, WMF Britain

John Darlington, an archaeologist and author, joined WMF in 2015 to lead the British affiliate. Prior to joining WMF, he led the UK’s National Trust in North West England with a portfolio focused on historic mansions, gardens, and landscapes. He holds a number of graduate and postgraduate degrees, is a Professor of Practice at the University of Wales, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is also the author of over 50 publications, and a regular contributor to The Art Newspaper and other journals.