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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

What Members Say

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3.9 (808 )
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Story
3.9 (622 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Noam United States 04-16-12
    Noam United States 04-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent read (er, listening...)"
    Where does Guns, Germs and Steel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was the first audio book I've listened to.


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

    Not relevant, this was the first audio book I've listened to.


    Have you listened to any of Doug Ordunio’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not relevant, this was the first audio book I've listened to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I listened to it in while driving, over a period of several days.


    Any additional comments?

    None

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roman Saint-Petersburg, Russia 01-30-12
    Roman Saint-Petersburg, Russia 01-30-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    9
    9
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    1
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Some parts are boring, but still fascinating"

    In short, it tries to answer the question of why European culture and not culture from other parts of the world is dominating the world today.

    The book is fascinating, contains a lot of interesting facts and enlightens the reader with some of the great theories and explanations in linguistics, evolution, biology, anthropology and history. It may not be very detailed in answering certain questions, but it's a great starting point to investigate the subject you are interested in further. As other reviewers noted, it contains a boring part on botany which is really exhausting to listen to, but other than that it was interesting.

    The narrator was not perfect, chewing some words. Also the quality of the recording is not perfect with some white noise, but after a while you stop noticing that.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dominic Milwaukee, WI, United States 07-07-13
    Dominic Milwaukee, WI, United States 07-07-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insanely boring due to no compelling narrative"
    What would have made Guns, Germs and Steel better?

    A compelling narrative running through the story, holding it together. It just felt like a list of tribes and countries, foods, and animals. I could barely pay attention for longer than a few minutes.


    Any additional comments?

    I am usually a huge fan of these kind of books. I love History, but I couldn't even bring myself to finish the last bit of this book. It was insanely boring. There was not enough of a compelling narrative running through it, holding it together. It just felt like a list of tribes and countries, foods, and animals. I could barely pay attention for longer than a few minutes.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Welander Atlanta, GA USA 07-03-13
    Thomas Welander Atlanta, GA USA 07-03-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I keep forgetting it's playing"
    What did you like best about Guns, Germs and Steel? What did you like least?

    The information is great. The author's analysis is impressive. Least of all I liked the performance. I had a tough time paying attention. I missed a lot of the book simply because I would forget it was playing. I don't usually have this problem with audiobooks. Nearly as bad is the fidelity of the recording.


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

    I would compare John McPhee's works as a contrast. He can make the phone book fascinating. Jared Diamond took fascinating material and made it boring.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Get someone else to read it.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicolas Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 04-29-13
    Nicolas Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 04-29-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    15
    5
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    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring, not for the casual reader"

    The book contains toooo much details. Not for the casual reader interested in a bit of history. Plus, I am not sure if it is because of the content or the narrator himself, but it is very boring. I could not finish the book unfortunately.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Wilmington, DE, United States 03-18-13
    Amazon Customer Wilmington, DE, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    8
    8
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    2
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    "Awful"
    Would you try another book from Jared Diamond and/or Doug Ordunio?

    No.


    What could Jared Diamond have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Use vocabulary that anyone outside a doctoral thesis in anthropology uses. Tell an actual story - this could've been one of the greatest detective stories of all time, with tons of sympathetic resonance. Instead, it's one of the most boring things I've ever tried to read.


    What didn’t you like about Doug Ordunio’s performance?

    Utterly flat, atonal delivery. I had a hard time not falling asleep. The material didn't give him much to work with, but his delivery didn't help.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Serious disappointment.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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