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Guns, Germs, and Steel

The Fates of Human Societies
Diamond, Jared M. (Book - 1999 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Guns, Germs, and Steel
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WW Norton
"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."—Bill Gates
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

Baker & Taylor
An intriguing study of the rise of civilization argues that human development is not based on race or ethnic differences but rather is linked to biological diversity, discussing the evolution of agriculture, technology, writing, political systems, and religious belief. Reprint.

Norton Pub
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Baker
& Taylor

Dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors he feels are responsible for history's broadest patterns

Authors: Diamond, Jared M.
Statement of Responsibility: Jared Diamond
Title: Guns, germs, and steel
the fates of human societies
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c1999
Characteristics: 480 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 429-457) and index
Subject Headings: Social evolution Civilization History Ethnology Human beings Effect of environment on Culture diffusion
Topical Term: Social evolution
Civilization
Ethnology
Human beings
Culture diffusion
LCCN: 96037068
ISBN: 9780393317558
0393317552
Branch Call Number: 303.4 D
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Aug 08, 2014
  • smplreader rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I read it for college many years ago. It's a very ambitious topic to take on and Jared Diamond lays out a convincing argument. I really liked reading about the different civilizations and their history. It does get a bit repetitive at times, but I do think that's necessary to drive home the point. It's a great read though.

"StarGladiator's" comments are exactly right, and much kinder than my assessment. This book is cover to cover crap! It follows the theory that if you bury readers in enough verbiage they won't notice that there's no there, there. My former respect for the Pulitzer Prize is now gone. This book (and a few other Pulitzer choices) has made me aware that the Pulitzer prize lacks integrity, and is not based on merit, quality, or scholarship. To my dismay, the Pulitzer committee, apparently, has an agenda.

Jun 13, 2013
  • emmajtreat rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I gave this book 3.5 stars, but I'm sure I would've given it a higher rating if I was just a few years older :) Guns, Germs, and Steel is a 500 page long World History and Social Studies course with a worldly and witty, if slightly repetitive teacher. An essential read for anyone who wants to educate themselves or impress a teacher.

Feb 11, 2013
  • KOVALTSENKO rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent summary of mankinds progress through the various ages.

Feb 05, 2013
  • GummiGirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Amazing in its scope, with just enough humanizing detail. I agree that it is somewhat repetitious, and heavy on the "geography is destiny" thesis. But it's still full of good information and well worth reading.

Negative Rated for Zero Scholarship: David Deutsch, the British physicist, deftly destroys Diamond's thesis in several pages (I believe it was in his book titled, "The Beginning of Infinity" but it might have been another), while Jane Jacobs, in her brilliant and clever short book, "Dark Age Ahead," destroys Diamond in just several lines --- suggesting regardless of the amount of verbiage, his thesis is highly unstable. Diamond recently wrote the introduction for a fantasy (my opinion) book on hedge fund trading by a (my opinion) fantasy hedge fund trader. I believe Diamond has finally found his true calling and niche in life. HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Prof. Joseph Tainter's earlier published, "Collapse of Complex Societies," and his utterly brilliant paper (around 12 pp.) on sustainability and complexity (last I saw it online it was dieoff.org) -- absolutely and incomparably brilliant! (For the commenter who mentioned the "Pulitzer Prize" -- many neocon authors have also been awarded that prize --- are you also in agreement with their drivel?)

Oct 17, 2012
  • johnsankey rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

brilliant insights into how modern civilization evolved from hunter gathering, and why certain places were favoured by their natural environment for that evolution.

Aug 07, 2012
  • doroschelch rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The second of the trilogy that also comprises "The Third Chimpanzee" and "Collapse"; racy style, as in all of Diamond's writing, that allows you to read sophisticated science like a thriller - and learn everything you need to know about the world at the same time!

Jul 28, 2012
  • ocleirigh rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Diamond's hypotheses (that New Guineans, his friend Yali are smarter than Europeans, and determined by environement only) is what Carl Sagan calls pseudoscience. Diamond rejects any use of IQ tests, or genetic biological research into individuals of differenet races. His hypothesis is invulnerable to any experiment that offers a prospect of disproof, so even in principle it cannot be invalidated. Jared is defensive and wary and skepticism is opposed. In true science hypotheses are framed so they are capable of being disproved. A succession of alternative hypotheses is confronted by experiment and observation. Proprietary feelings are of course offended when a scientifc hypothesis is disproved, but such disproofs are recognized as central to the scientific enterprise.

Aug 12, 2011
  • nikki14 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A great read.

It's nothing that anthropologists haven't been saying for the past 50 years but I'm glad the message has gotten out to the mainstream.

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Aug 08, 2014
  • smplreader rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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Jul 21, 2011
  • mbazal rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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Aug 01, 2008
  • suby99 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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Jul 21, 2011
  • mbazal rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies is a 1997 book by Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1998 it won a Pulitzer Prize and the Aventis Prize for Best Science Book. A documentary based on the book, and produced by the National Geographic Society, was broadcast on PBS in July 2005.[1]

It was also published under the title Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years.[2] The book attempts to explain why Eurasian civilizations (in which he includes North Africa) have survived and conquered others, while refuting the assumption that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual, moral or inherent genetic superiority. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies originate in environmental differences, which are amplified by various positive feedback loops. When cultural or genetic differences have favored Eurasians (for example, written language or the development among Eurasians of resistance to endemic diseases), he asserts that these advantages occurred because of the influence of geography on societies and cultures, and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes.

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Jun 13, 2013
  • emmajtreat rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“In short, Europe’s colonization of Africa had nothing to do with differences between European and African peoples themselves, as white racists assume. Rather, it was due to accidents of geography and biogeography—in particular, to the continents’ different areas, axes, and suites of wild plant and animal species. That is, the different historical trajectories of Africa and Europe stem ultimately from differences in real estate.”

Jul 21, 2011
  • mbazal rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"An ambitious, highly important book." - James Shreeve, New York Times Book Review

"Fascinating...Lays a foundation for understanding human history." - Bill Gates

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app07 Version sidamo (sidamo) Last updated 2014/09/17 15:16