While working in New Guinea in 1972, where he was studying bird evolution, Jared Diamond met a local politician touring the area. At the time, Papua New Guinea was approaching independence after long being administered by Australia. Yali, the politician, spoke about preparing his people for independence, and asked Diamond many questions about history and other topics. Finally, he wanted to know why the conquering Europeans had arrived with so many goods and technology, while the New Guineans had so little of their own. It seems to be a simple question, and yet answering it took Diamond 25 years. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, is his attempt to answer not just Yali's question, but the whole question of why some peoples in some parts of the world developed technological advances before others, and why some of them were then able to conquer other peoples using those advances.
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Had no time to read the 450 pages, so this audiobook was a great way to get my head around the gyst of the book.
I'm sure I missed out on some great details and the purported quality of the authors thought process. But being able to grasp the main concepts, considered by themselves to be tantamount in the field, in a short 30 minutes (complete on a single train ride home from work), was for me an awesome deal for just 4 bucks. I highly recommend this work.
Only setback is the narration quality - the reader wasn't a particularly experienced/professional "audiobook reader," if you will. He narrates fast and without a full understanding of the material and lacks a sense of conveyance. As I have dabbled in audio engineering, the mic-ing is not great either. So you have to be a bit imaginative in discerning Jared Diamond's original intent through the various layers of interpretation - shortened text & narrator's speech.
All in all, a wonderful product to exist on the open market. 5 stars!
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