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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies | [Jared Diamond]

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

In this groundbreaking work, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. It is a story that spans 13,000 years of human history, beginning when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Guns, Germs, and Steel is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life.
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Publisher's Summary

In this groundbreaking work, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. It is a story that spans 13,000 years of human history, beginning when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Guns, Germs, and Steel is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life.

©1997 Jared Diamond; (P)2001 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"The scope and explanatory power of this book are astounding." (The New Yorker)
"Guns, Germs, and Steel is an artful, informative, and delightful book....There is nothing like a radically new angle of vision for bringing out unsuspected dimensions of a subject." (The New York Review of Books)

What Members Say

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3.8 (1292 )
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  •  
    Brian Darby Silicon Valley USA 07-10-07
    Brian Darby Silicon Valley USA 07-10-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Some books not audio material"

    I am sure this book is good for the academic. Sometimes it is even funny. But the narration style is monotonous, giving few clues to what the content means from a human perspective. This is not audio material.

    It was so bad, that the end of the book came completely as a surprise, and left me wondering WHAT WAS the POINT?

    Worse, it left me with WHO CARES?
    Not I, not after listening for all those hours.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Fletty 06-12-07
    E. Fletty 06-12-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "GGS Review"

    I preferred Collapse by Jarrod Diamond. Guns, Germs & Steel was good but not as engaging.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael American Fork, UT, USA 10-11-07
    Michael American Fork, UT, USA 10-11-07 Member Since 2006
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    "r"

    "Instead, it might very well be that once the civilizational process is begun, there emerges a feedback effect, which by making the more intelligent in each generation more fit for reproduction, gradually increases the overall cognitive ability of the peoples inhabiting the evolving civilisations. Being smart in civilization is beneficial for your chances of reproducing yourself, and so the smarties get more numerous. Mr. Diamond doesn't see this."
    Our intelligence evolved in pre-civilized societies. In civilizations, it does not require intelligence to reproduce. In today's world, those who are uneducated and living in poverty are the ones reproducing.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Avesh Houston, TX, USA 10-13-05
    Avesh Houston, TX, USA 10-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Study"

    No boubt that Prof JAred Diamond has done a great study, its highly recommended because he has put 30 years of experience in writing this book. Some time during this books he talks a lot about petricular topic like he gave so much detail about domestic animals, some times this book lacks interest but after a good patience finally it becomes worthwhile to read.

    5 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oscar KarlskronaSweden 10-07-05
    Oscar KarlskronaSweden 10-07-05
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    "Good writer, flawed theory"

    Jared Diamond is an excellent author, and so would this book be, if only his theorizing were true and unflawed. But it's not. He starts the book by stating that he's out to destroy the claim that genetic differences is the cause of the global disparity in civilizational achivement between different peoples and races, a claim he considers low and immoral. Then he proceeds by asserting that the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea are genetically superior to whites. This self-contradiction is not rendered any less stupid by the fact that it's done without reference to any evidence beyond the mere hunch of the author.

    The main argument of the book is that different peoples have made civilizations that differ not because the peoples themselves are of varying genetic giftedness, but because they've been unequally procured by their respective environments with the ingredients necessary for civilization-building, chiefly: crops suitable for agriculture, animals suitable for domestication, soil suitable for farming, and habitats spacious enough to support the numbers of humans needed to preserve knowledge through hard times, and located in connection to other sites of civilization in an horizontal fashion, rather than a vertical one. This argument is all very well and quite plausible, but mr. Diamond forgets something. Although it's possible that it was the uniquely beneficial environment which laid the foundation for the Eurasian civilizational preeminence, that doesn't prove that all races are equally intellectually gifted today. Instead, it might very well be that once the civilizational process is begun, there emerges a feedback effect, which by making the more intelligent in each generation more fit for reproduction, gradually increases the overall cognitive ability of the peoples inhabiting the evolving civilisations. Being smart in civilization is beneficial for your chances of reproducing yourself, and so the smarties get more numerous. Mr. Diamond doesn't see this.

    45 of 160 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gilbert Clarence Center, NY, USA 08-13-08
    Gilbert Clarence Center, NY, USA 08-13-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Guns, Germs, and Steel, intresting...."

    I found this book wanting for better examples, but in whole, a good read.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Exeter, NH, USA 09-02-08
    Linda Exeter, NH, USA 09-02-08
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    "Disappointing"

    This book overlooks the entire anthropological history of humankind and comes to a screeching halt with the conclusion, "Location, location, location." This book pretends to answer "the big questions" about our origins, but is more about how geography impacted evolution. Important topic, but limited in scope.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Cincinnati, OH, USA 07-19-07
    Brian Cincinnati, OH, USA 07-19-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "guns germs and steel"

    I don't know if it was the content or the poor reading. It wasn't worth continuing to listen to.

    0 of 7 people found this review helpful
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