Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jan 1, 1997 - History - 480 pages
393 Reviews
A global account of the rise of civilization that is also a stunning refutation of ideas of human development based on race. Until around 11,000 b.c., all peoples were still Stone Age hunter/gatherers. At that point, a great divide occurred in the rates that human societies evolved. In Eurasia, parts of the Americas, and Africa, farming became the prevailing mode of existence when indigenous wild plants and animals were domesticated by prehistoric planters and herders. As Jared Diamond vividly reveals, the very people who gained a head start in producing food would collide with preliterate cultures, shaping the modern world through conquest, displacement, and genocide. The paths that lead from scattered centers of food to broad bands of settlement had a great deal to do with climate and geography. But how did differences in societies arise? Why weren't native Australians, Americans, or Africans the ones to colonize Europe? Diamond dismantles pernicious racial theories tracing societal differences to biological differences. He assembles convincing evidence linking germs to domestication of animals, germs that Eurasians then spread in epidemic proportions in their voyages of discovery. In its sweep, Guns, Germs and Steel encompasses the rise of agriculture, technology, writing, government, and religion, providing a unifying theory of human history as intriguing as the histories of dinosaurs and glaciers.
  

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Jared Diamond's prose is very readable but prolix. - Goodreads
Lovely pictures in the book. - Goodreads
I agreed with its premise before I read the book. - Goodreads

Review: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

User Review  - Audrey - Goodreads

A Weighty Read, Yet a Compact Examination of Human History 3 / 5 stars Guns, Germs, and Steel takes readers through 13,000 years of human history to get to the heart of the question: why is it that ... Read full review

Review: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

User Review  - Kevin - Goodreads

For me Diamond's writing fell into two sections. One was the domestication and spread of plants and animals. This was very interesting. The second section dealt with Diamond's thesis that the earlier ... Read full review

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Contents

PROLOGUE YALIS QUESTION
15
PART ONE FROM EDEN TO CAJAMARCA 3 3
33
CHAPTERS COLLISION AT CAJAMARCA
67
PART TWO THE RISE AND SPREAD OF FOOD
85
TO FARM OR NOT TO FARM
104
CHAPTER? HOW TO MAKE AN ALMOND
114
CHAPTERS APPLES OR INDIANS
131
ZEBRAS UNHAPPY MARRIAGES
157
PART FOUR AROUND THE WORLD
297
The history of East Asia 3 2 2
322
SPEEDBOAT TO POLYNESIA
334
CHAPTER is HEMISPHERES COLLIDING
354
HOW AFRICA BECAME BLACK
376
EPILOGUE THE FUTURE OF HUMAN
403
Guns Germs and Steel Today
426
4 i
441

SPACIOUS SKIES
177
The evolution of germs i 9 5
195
NECESSITYS MOTHER
239
7
472
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Jared Mason Diamond is a physiologist, ecologist, and the author of several popular science books. Born in Boston in 1937, Diamond earned his B.A. at Harvard and his Ph.D. from Cambridge. A distinguished teacher and researcher, Diamond is well-known for the columns he contributes to the widely read magazines Natural History and Discover. Diamond's book The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal was heralded for its accessibility and for its blending of science and social science. The interdisciplinary Guns, Germs and Steel--Diamond's examination of the relationship between scientific technology and economic disparity--won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. Diamond has won a McArthur Foundation Fellowship in addition to several smaller awards for his science and writing.

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