Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs, and Steel

'Diamond has written a book of remarkable scope . . . one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years.'Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a national bestseller: the global account of the rise of civilization that is also a stunning refutation of ideas of human development based on race.In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingl...


Details Guns, Germs, and Steel

TitleGuns, Germs, and Steel
ISBN9780739467350
Author
Release DateJul 24th, 2018
PublisherW.W. Norton & Company
LanguageEnglish
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Science, Anthropology, Sociology
Rating

Reviews Guns, Germs, and Steel

  • Molly
    2008-01-11
    This is what happens when you take an intelligent person, and casually make a few mentions of a field of study they have no knowledge of.Mr. Diamond, NOT an anthropologist, takes Marvin Harris' theory of cultural materialism and uses it to explain everything in life, history, and the current state of the world.Materialism is a way of looking at human culture which, for lack of a better way to explain it easily here, says that people's material ne...
  • Will Byrnes
    2008-12-15
    “Why you white men have so much cargo [i.e., steel tools and other products of civilization] and we New Guineans have so little?” Jared Diamond is a biologist, who had a passion for studying birds, particularly the birds of New Guinea. But as he came to know and appreciate the many native people he met in his work, the question asked by a New Guinean named Yani remained with him. Why was it that westerners had so much relative to New Guinean ...
  • Mike
    2007-05-18
    Author Jared Diamond's two-part thesis is: 1) the most important theme in human history is that of civilizations beating the crap out of each other, 2) the reason the beat-ors were Europeans and the beat-ees the Aboriginees, Mayans, et. al. is because of the geographical features of where each civilization happened to develop. Whether societies developed gunpowder, written language, and other technological niceties, argues Diamond, is completely ...
  • Manny
    2008-12-10
    I liked this book, and it taught me a bunch of things I hadn't known before I read it. Jared Diamond has clearly had a more interesting life than most of us, and spent significant amounts of time in a wide variety of different kinds of society, all over the world. He says he got the basic idea from a conversation he had back in the 70s with a friend in New Guinea. His friend, who later became a leader in the independence movement, wanted to talk ...
  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2016-11-30
    It took me a while to complete Diamond's book (and admittedly I also distracted myself with a few Roth novels in the meantime) because of the density of the text and the variety of ideas presented. The central thesis that it is not racial biology that determines the victors in history but rather a complex combination of agriculture, geography, population density, and continental orientation is a fascinating and compelling one. The style is not ac...
  • Nate
    2008-02-29
    This may be the most over-rated book in the history of book rating. The point he is making is that we in Western Civilazation haven't built skyscrapers, made moon landings, mass produced automobiles, eradicated polio (or for that matter lived indoors with running water) while aborigines in certain remote outposts still hunt and gather in isolated tribes because we are inherently any smarter or more industrious than those individuals. Of course he...
  • Jason Koivu
    2008-11-22
    Misleading! The actual title should be Germs, More Germs and a bit about Steel And Guns, but not very much on those last two really...I mean, we want to put Guns first because it's more attention-grabbing than Germs, but let's face it, this book is mostly about Germs. Why has no publishing house knocked down my door trying to obtain my book titling services yet?!
  • Joshua Parkinson
    2008-01-31
    In 1532, Francisco Pizarro and a band of 168 Spaniards punctured the heart of the Inca Empire and proceeded to capture its emperor, decimate its citizens, and plunder its gold. Why didn’t it happen the other way around? Why didn't the Incas sail to Europe, capture Charles V, kill his subjects, and loot his castles and cathedrals? Jared Diamond attempts to answer this question in Guns, Germs & Steel. Why have Europeans tended to dominate other p...
  • Riku Sayuj
    2012-01-28
    Jared sticks to the basic premise and plugs every hole in his argument so well to construct a magnificent explanation of the evolution of societies. What makes the book particularly good is the intimate hands-on experience that Jared has on the wide variety of fields required to attempt a book like this. The last four or five chapters start to get very repetitive, but except for that Diamond has taken a stunningly large scale view of history that...
  • Siria
    2012-07-27
    Terrible. This is one of those books which seems at face value as if it has an interesting and persuasive thesis, and indeed there are a couple of reasonable points in here, but by and large Guns, Germs, and Steel is a poorly written book, shoddily argued and riddled with factual errors. Jared Diamond's thesis is that the differences which one can observe in technological and economic development around the world do not result from racial differe...
  • Jim
    2007-07-27
    The PuristI give you now Professor Twist,A conscientious scientist,Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"And sent him off to distant jungles.Camped on a tropic riverside,One day he missed his loving bride.She had, the guide informed him later,Been eaten by an alligator.Professor Twist could not but smile."You mean," he said, "a crocodile."That bit of Ogden Nash whimsy came into my head as I thought about Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, a...
  • Darwin8u
    2015-08-30
    “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.” - Jare...
  • Melki
    2018-06-08
    Diamond attempts to "provide a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years," AND answer the question of why some cultures thrive while others perish or are conquered by others. There is a mind-boggling amount of information presented: some of it is fascinating, some of it seems repetitive, and overly long. When my husband, who is a big fan of "farming books," thinks that there was WAY TOO MUCH about agriculture. . . well, that kind of te...
  • WarpDrive
    2015-12-27
    This is a thought-provoking, deeply interesting, controversial book investigating the reasons behind the bafflingly different rate of development of human societies in different parts of the world. The main thesis of the author is that geographic aspects represent the overwhelming ultimate set of causal factors, and they played out mostly at the very beginning of societal development, mainly in prehistoric times. The author uses very broad brush ...
  • Nandakishore Varma
    2018-01-30
    What a terrific book. 😍One sentence review: Human history is a function of geography. Detailed review to follow!
  • Trevor
    2007-07-07
    Without overdoing the pun, everything by Diamond shines and shines. This is his greatest work. Occasionally in life you can feel a book shifting the way you see the world, shifting what you thought you knew about the world. There is a documentary made around this book, but read the book - trust me.
  • Jokoloyo
    2015-03-15
    My first intention reading this book is not to seek knowledge in the real world, but to understand more about the setting/world making of fantasy fiction and science fiction. But this book gave me so much more than that, it gave me answers or some revelations about some of my personal thinking all these years.I cannot comment much about the contents, there are a lot of reviews that describe the contents well.Some interesting points on this book f...
  • Rhiannon
    2008-05-07
    I have this awesome picture in my head in which Jared Diamond did not write this book. He instead wrote a detailed, engaging account of the history of plant and animal domestication."But Rhiannon," you might say, "doesn't that remove his entire thesis, that geography determined just about everything about the course of human civilization?"And, I would respond yes, it does."And, isn't that kind of removing the whole book?"No, I counter. It just re...
  • Alex Telander
    2007-11-02
    GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL: THE FATES OF HUMAN SOCIETIES BY JARED DIAMOND: This is one of those books that takes you a while to read -- it's pretty heavy non-fiction -- and yet at the end of it, you feel like Hippocrates, a Muslim scientist, or Leonardo Da Vinci must have felt at the realization of a great discovery. The Eureka! moment. This book is kind of like the movie Hotel Rwanda: the movie was life-altering for me, and just made every other mov...
  • فهد الفهد
    2011-06-18
    هذه ليست مراجعة كاملة، وإنما هي رد كتبته على قراءة الأخ خالد المغربي، وقد طلب الأخ الكريم بلطفه نقل الرد ليكون بمثابة مراجعة للكتاب، وها أنا أفعل رغم قناعتي أنه سيكون مراجعة عرجاء وناقصة كثيرا ً.قرأت هذا الكتاب العام الماضي، ولانشغالي حينها لم أكت...
  • Elizabeth King
    2008-01-21
    Germ Guns & SteelIt is a thesis,His thesis being; that all animals are created equal… but not all animals sleep in a bed with sheets.Why?Because in addition to needing tree for wood to make looms, herders to shear sheep & weavers to make sheets, you also need (DHU) SHEEP.Yep, if you are unlucky enough to be born on a continent or onto part of a continent with only anteaters, there is no fucking way you are going to get sheets, no matter how sma...
  • Richard Derus
    2018-01-17
    Rating: 3.5* of five, rounded up because the PBS adaptation was better than I had expected it to beI read this in the 1990s and was blown away by the fact that environmental determinism was back in the forefront of the have-vs-have-not debate. Well told tale. Persuasive, goodness knows. Maybe even partially correct, who knows, since we're facing the consequences of climate change on our civilization and they aren't good. They're only going to get...
  • Deborah
    2008-01-23
    Having read Charles C. Mann's 1491 immediately before Guns, Germs, and Steel, I was all-too aware of the dated nature of many of Diamond's assumptions about the New World. (And therefore I would highly recommend 1491 to anyone interested in learning about the latest and greatest developments in knowledge concerning the early history of the Americas.) This seed of doubt concerning the accuracy of Diamond's assumptions about the Americas prevented ...
  • Jim
    2016-03-21
    THIS BOOK ATTEMPTS TO PROVIDE A SHORT HISTORY OF EVERYbody for the last 13,000 years. The question motivating the book is: Why did history unfold differently on different continents?...Diamond immediately takes great pains to shoot down any ideas of one race being more intelligent than another. Yes, some thought so, but they've been refuted for long enough that I thought he belabored the point. This section does introduce us to his method of argu...
  • Radhika
    2007-08-24
    I give this book 4 stars because it has some very interesting ideas that provoke thought and inquiry. It also offers plausible explanations that often ring true. I don't give it 5 stars because it suffers from certain drawbacks.I love his analysis and interpretation of causes that show why civilization arose variously in diverse and distinct locations of the planet. I love how his causes make sense. His rejection of race-based politics is quite c...
  • Cody VC
    2012-01-25
    I will say this: he makes some interesting points about geographical and geological determinism and the potential validity thereof. Everything else, however, is basically shit. The Pulitzer this book got must have been the world's biggest and most expensive A for effort.Diamond writes in his introduction that a multi-discipline effort "would be doomed from the outset, because the essence of the problem is to develop a unified synthesis. That cons...
  • Jim Fonseca
    2013-09-23
    Did you ever wonder if there is a certain inevitability in the way world history has evolved? Jared Diamond argues, in effect, that the giant Eurasian continent (Europe and Asia combined) was predestined to take over the world. Everything conspired in its favor: climate, vegetation, population distribution, mineral resources and even bacteria. Compare Eurasia and Australia, for example, and you find that when humans evolved to the point of beginn...
  • Daniel Bastian
    2011-11-17
    “History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples’ environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.”What do Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Francisco Pizarro have in common? Apart from their status as European countrymen, it was the fortuitous confluence of guns, microbes and steel technology which all but ensured their success at colonizing regions occupied b...
  • Curtis Abbott
    2008-03-12
    Before buying and reading this book, I read some reviews, and frankly, they didn't inspire me. They talked about it being a history of the world, they talked about its immense, ambitious scope. Such talk causes my crap detectors to tingle. I did finally buy it after reading a laudatory review by someone I respect. And I'm glad I did, because I found it to be absolutely top notch. The phrase "history of the world" misguides because the book is ent...