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

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 1998

Guns, Germs and Steel examines the rise of civilization and the issues its development has raised throughout history.

Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology. Diamond also dissects racial theories of global history, and the resulting work—Guns, Germs and Steel—is a major contribution to our understanding the evolution of human societies.

©1997 Jared Diamond (P)2011 Random House

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  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-05-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-05-14

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "THE EVOLUTION OF SOCIETY"

    Picture bi-pedal, somewhat hairy, naked human antecedents stalking a mastodon, munching wild tubers or berries in a hostile environment and Diamond’s idea of the beginning of society is fulfilled.

    Jared Diamond argues that all human beings, in their beginning, were “hunter, gatherers”. The question is why did some societies continue as hunter, gathering cultures (bordering on extinction) while other societies grew to dominate the world? Diamond’s research leads to a belief that the fate of human society grows from agriculture and the invention and evolution of “Guns, Germs and Steel”. Diamond’s research provides a historically and scientifically arguable record of societal evolution.

    “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is not a page turning adventure; in fact, it is poorly organized and ponderous, but it has the power to change minds about why the West has dominated the world for so long. Who knows about the future but Diamond seems to know something about the past.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 06-14-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 06-14-14

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "Why the conquering elite conquered"

    Interesting look at the dynamics of why the conquered fell to the conquering throughout history. Why didn't the Incas superior numbers wipe the invading Spaniards off the map for instance. A very engaging read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 05-18-14
    Chris 05-18-14
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    "Really good perspective on technology and history"
    If you could sum up Guns, Germs and Steel in three words, what would they be?

    Innovation, infection, history


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I can't say there was a character per se that was interesting, but the entire concept that history is an interaction with technology and biology was enlightening.


    What about Doug Ordunio’s performance did you like?

    It seems natural rather than didactic.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Just as there was no outstanding "character" there was no outstanding portion. It all worked well together to make a point.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Sheung WanHong Kong 05-01-14
    Christopher Sheung WanHong Kong 05-01-14
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    "My new favorite book"
    Where does Guns, Germs and Steel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Wow, this is a great book. The understanding of deep time and the authors real experiences splashed in to add colour. There is so much amazing information which has made me the life of dinner party conversation as I spout bits of knowledge from this great book.


    What other book might you compare Guns, Germs and Steel to and why?

    This book is a primer for understanding our world, breaking down racism, western superiority even understanding our natural environment. It covers the whole path of humanity and dispels common myths... just download it.


    What does Doug Ordunio bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The performance is good, although the topic is great I didn't quite notice the performance, or maybe that is the mark of a great performance?


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There are moments of aha! When you a realise that our world, is the way it is, not through design but through circumstance. It’s quite fast paced, and one of the few books that I didn’t tune out for a minute or two.


    Any additional comments?

    This is great it should be required reading in schools, universities, churches even the bus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 04-08-14
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 04-08-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Insightful & thought provoking..."

    Much as his TV shows & interviews, this is a logical trek thru what separated various parts of human evolution…. while not politically correct to some, it is a useful piece to place historical changes in context…. well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    taylor storey California/China 03-19-14
    taylor storey California/China 03-19-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A Strong 3 Stars!"

    I'm going with a strong 3 stars. This book was well researched. The kind of book that your professors want you to write. Very logical, with each point being addressed, and an 'area for further study' at the end of the book. He is a professor at UCLA...so it kinda feels like a dissertation...definitely more readable than that, but tedious for the average reader like myself.

    Jared Diamond has lived a really interesting, global life. While in New Guinea a young politician asked him "why do you have cargo and we don't?" Cargo meaning stuff, boats, technology, etc. Diamond boils this down to the most essential advantages the Europeans had that others did not: Guns, Germs and Steel.

    Then he asks, why did the Europeans get guns, germs and steel and not people from other places?

    Then you have lots and lots and lots of information that I mostly got lost in...and you realize he's saying: Geography. The geography of places led to them having 'advantages' in moving towards settled societies with technology and literacy and food crops. ...My professors at Jerusalem University College would love that.

    This book is especially valuable because the subconsciously assumed answer to the question of why one race has more cargo is generally that certain races are more superior in some way, but he's saying no and giving a good, well thought out reason for this. This book will make subsequent history books better. For the average reader, you could probably get away with reading the intro and the conclusion...that's mostly what I will remember.

    It is a huuuuge undertaking to answer the question of how everything happened and became the way it did and he does it in about as concise a manner as I can imagine anybody doing...but still, for my desires, it was still too scientific feeling and not enough stories. I would have liked it if it followed a few biographies or something. Too tedious for me. Maybe I need to read a bit more around the topic and then come back to it.

    I did like when he dabbled in Linguistic history, I think I have a little connection to that having studied a few languages and asking a few questions in that realm. I listened to this on audiobook and my ears perked up when he started making those connections.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-14-14
    01-14-14
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    "Awesome"
    Any additional comments?

    A lot of people have recommended this book to me over the years and I finally got the chance to read it…
    I came away from this book with a mind full of questions to ponder for the rest of my life!
    Great Book!!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea RICHFIELD, MN, United States 11-21-13
    Andrea RICHFIELD, MN, United States 11-21-13
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    "Very interesting much deeper then the tv show"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, its a very good book. Well writen and well explained.


    What other book might you compare Guns, Germs and Steel to and why?

    Nothing I have yet read. Though I hope to find others.


    What about Doug Ordunio’s performance did you like?

    Clear and well voiced.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    History: A real world story


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jens v?xj?Sweden 05-01-13
    Jens v?xj?Sweden 05-01-13
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    "Good listen, good basic, good in-depth"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Guns, Germs and Steel to be better than the print version?

    Hard to say. I have read the book and remember that I keept going back and forth in the book to check facts and to compare when the author referenced to earlier wrtitings in the book. That is a tad harder/cumbersum to do with the audiobook. Having read the book for three years ago I didnät feel the need to go back and forth though.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are several scenes when Jarrod puts our world in perspective using different naturetribes ho been working with as examples.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book didn't touch my heart, it did touch my brain though.


    Any additional comments?

    Read it to get a firmer ground to stand in both the evolution and history of mankind.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael FRANKLIN, TN, United States 02-28-13
    Michael FRANKLIN, TN, United States 02-28-13
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    "Never would have read all this"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes. Great ideas and context for why the world has become how it is today.


    What about Doug Ordunio’s performance did you like?

    This is very dry material. He did as good of a job as any could (i imagine) reading it.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Nope!


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a great 'read' for information. The author is very thourough. He circles around on a topic for 5 minutes before landing. This is because of his research and giving a full explanation. I prefer cliff notes.

    That said, I've wanted to read this book for years now and much prefer having listened to it!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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