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Guns, Germs and Steel Audiobook

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

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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

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (3114 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Alex Badin 12-27-16
    Alex Badin 12-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    REVIEWS
    5
    1
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    Story
    "Rare case of logic and science applied to history"

    This rare case when you can not look at the world as you did before. When the ideas seem so reasonable and obvious that you cannot understand how you missed them before.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fabiana M Espindola Miami, FL United States 12-26-16
    Fabiana M Espindola Miami, FL United States 12-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    6
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    "best book i read 2016"

    amazing new way to see world history . i m going to ask my daughter to watch the pbs doccumentary about this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian Jorgensen Denmark 12-04-16
    Christian Jorgensen Denmark 12-04-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great and compelling - if somewhat technical"
    What made the experience of listening to Guns, Germs and Steel the most enjoyable?

    The quality of the argument made - the extremely interesting thesis.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    N/A


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


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

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    The book is great and well argued and the general thesis stands out quite clear. That being said the book at times becomes extremely technical when it comes to seeds, types of animals, etc.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david 12-02-16
    david 12-02-16
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    1
    1
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    "Good book. Lots of details. Very through."

    Good book. Lots of details. Very through. It is going to stay in my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Mansfield MN, USA 11-07-16
    Donald Mansfield MN, USA 11-07-16 Member Since 2016
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    6
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    "Absolutely amazing"

    Very thorough. Although his conclusion isn't as controversial as it may have been, it's nonetheless an eye opening, enthralling deterministic account of human history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel S. Mayer Boulder, CO 10-02-16
    Daniel S. Mayer Boulder, CO 10-02-16

    Dan Mayer

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    7
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    "excellent quick history of humanity"

    it makes a compelling case for the large impact of a few key variables to the development of societies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis 10-02-16
    Luis 10-02-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Epic modern history and science companion book"

    Traveling through #czech republic, #Austria, #Italy, #Slovenia and #Hungary🇭🇺 has given me the opportunity to gain quite a bit of knowledge not often taught in the US and even latin america, some of it was nice, other very troubling. I was lucky to have Jared Diamond join me on the trip through an Audio Book for some lengthy driving and plane rides, it provided key insights about history which I never had heard before, and should help to put a lot of people at peace with tons of human horrors and social differences. The book is an amazing scientific ride revisiting history explaining a lot of the "hows", its truly an epic endeavor and am so surprised by his dedication to writing the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Coles 09-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    10
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    "Try A brief history by Bill Bryson instead."

    This was disappointing. A light weight effort filled with very little real insight. Try the Bill Bryson book instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chaitanya 09-19-16
    Chaitanya 09-19-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth reading"

    Nicely arranged chapters . little slow and easy to lose attention in some chapters.
    Author has covered most of the world's civilizations in brief.
    narrator's voice is crisp and suits the genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cleverKermit Rexburg, ID 09-09-16
    cleverKermit Rexburg, ID 09-09-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Harry Seldon?"

    Echoes of psycho history...interesting that it so closely follows the concept. Good book, not as exciting as the title and cover...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Jim
    London
    1/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The definitive Audible purchase"

    I was defeteated by the text version of this listen despite finding the topic interesting and generally being happy to stick with challenging reads. I don't know whether it was Diamond's prose style or the relatively slow start but for whatever reason I just couldn't get past the first 50 pages. The audible version though was an entirely different proposition. It's well narrated; I stuck with early sections that did a good job of scene setting but gave me problems in print and by the end I was so fascinated by the combination of detailed research and sweeping vision that I listened to it again. Can't recommend this too highly for fans of non-fiction

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Samuel
    Lincoln, United Kingdom
    4/10/13
    Overall
    "Controversial and Judgemental"

    I really enjoyed this audiobook, my wife, who studied anthropology did not! As with so many debates, the lack of accessible specialist literature on a subject of widespread interest leads to other specialisms filling the void, from an anthropologists view this happened here.



    The mashing of the huge historical period and the geographical themes is understandable here, Diamond is a Geographer, and sees life in those terms, much as Acemoglu and Robinson in Why Nations Fail, examine life as economists. Obviously, real life is more complicated, but by simplifying the discussions and applying a consistent paradigm,I felt I understood more about development than before.



    Yes, I can see why Survival International don't like some of Diamond's narrative, there is certainly less sympathy for native peoples, but so what? If you download this you'll possibly move on to others of this type.



    If anthropologists would suggest something to broaden my views I would be happy to access it, otherwise my reading list includes: Ian Morris, Niall Ferguson, Charles C. Mann, and David Landes!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • EuroGamer
    HERTFORD, United Kingdom
    12/22/12
    Overall
    "An excellent work slightly spoilt"

    As a scientist myself I have always like Jarad Diamond as he opens up areas I have an non-professional interests. In this work Diamond deals this the differences between the various levels of development between various groups of peoples. Why is European/Asian culture so dominate? Diamond lays out his evidence and arguments well and does not fall into to the trap of push one reason for our current situation over another. However, the audio book is let down with poor narration with almost no inflection in his voice, which made it unpleasant and dry to listen to.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Jim Vaughan
    Malvern, UK
    2/11/13
    Overall
    "A Magnum Opus - in every sense."

    This is a "magnum opus" in all senses of the phrase, and deserved winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The question at the centre of the book is one asked by a New Guinea tribesman "How did your culture and peoples come to dominate us?", and the book opens with the defeat of several thousand Mayan warriors and their God-King, by a few hundred Spanish Conquistadors, armed with guns. Diamond rightly rejects the 19th Century explanation that white Europeans are innately superior, citing examples of the often greater inventiveness, adaptability and intelligence of "aboriginal" peoples. Dismissed too are notions of superior culture (e.g. Niall Fergason's 6 "killer apps" in his book "Civilisation"). Diamond instead looks to geography, and natural history for explanations. We conquered other continents, because we carried more lethal diseases (germs), and had better technology (guns & steel). This in turn was because the continent of Eurasia has many more animals and plants that could be domesticated, carried more diseases (to which we developed immunity) and that both of these, along with cultural advances, spread more easily East-West along similar temperate zones, leading to our earlier abandonment of hunter-gatherer lifestyles, in favour of farming, specialisation and technological advancement. Though the book paints a broad brush history, it delves very specifically into details of the development and clashes among numerous world cultures, and the evidence left to us today in language, technology, lifestyle, diseases and diet. Sometimes, the level of detail he goes into becomes almost overwhelming. The narration is very clear and concise, but the intonation is sometimes flat, and I found myself drifting off at times. It would have been great if the author had narrated it himself. In summary, this is a major and important work, but a long and sometimes difficult book. It is hard, but well worth the effort, if you, like me, seek to understand how and why we got here.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom
    12/5/15
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    "Really interesting take on World history"

    Jared Diamond approaches World History in a refreshing and entirely original way in this work. Rather than looking simply at what happened or even why it happened, he goes right back to first principles to examine why the circumstances arose that led to peoples of one part of the World essentially dominating the others. I think the macro view is a little simplistic but it is undeniably compelling and a strong counter-argument to more reductionist arguments of racial superiority or cultural differences.

    I listen to a lot of history books on Audible and few, if any, have brought to light as many new realisations about the World. Not so much telling me things I didn't already know but highlighting the importance of facts that I was already aware of.

    It has to be said that it is not a perfect work and Jared Diamond's ego does get in the way somewhat. He simply can't resist interposing his personal experience and special insights into the narrative rather than simply let the story stand on it's own. A certain number of these personal anecdotes would be fine but it feels at times like he is desperate for the reader/listener to acknowledge just how special and clever his insights are and how uniquely positioned he is to draw them.

    Overall a really interesting and engaging listen but I can see how the writer's style might really grate with some.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • T. Evans
    Wales
    8/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating insights into long-term history"
    What did you like most about Guns, Germs and Steel?

    The ambition of this book is immense, crisscrossing the globe, and human societies throughout history and prehistory. It's one of those rare mind expanding books that changes the way you look at the world.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • G
    Lincoln, United Kingdom
    2/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting in parts, too repetitive, some bias"
    What disappointed you about Guns, Germs and Steel?

    I felt like the author started off by a) telling me what he thought I believed (that 'westeners' were more intelligent than non westerners) and b) then telling me how I was wrong. I didn't actually believe the thing that I felt the author was accusing me of so that was a bad start. The book was extremely repetitive. It was very much, tell them what you are going to tell them x10, tell them x10, tell them what you just told them x 10. There was no need for all the repetition. I got it the 1st, 2nd and 3rd time. Some of the analyisis seemed quite flawed when compared with other books like Chip Walters' Last Ape Standing, and Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. Overall some interesting snippets of information within spoiled by a biased writer who writes as if his readrer has the memory retention of a goldfish. Disappointing!


    Has Guns, Germs and Steel put you off other books in this genre?

    No


    How could the performance have been better?

    Performance was OK


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Guns, Germs and Steel?

    Much of the repetition


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Claude Schmit
    12/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent read"

    Jared Diamond makes compelling arguments for the role of environmental effect on the evolution of human societies in different parts of the world. This is a must read for anyone interested in what has shaped our modern societies the way we find them today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • GEORGIOS G.
    Athens, Attiki Greece
    12/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting initially but later became repetitive"

    interesting initially but later became too much of the same type of arguments and examples with too much information between evidence and conclusions

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Danny
    9/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating subject"

    Fascinating subject covered in great detail. Slightly repetitive and long winded, very pleased to have finished this book as very interesting but it took commitment!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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