Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Part 537

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - History - 480 pages
171 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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User Review  - wagner.sarah35 - LibraryThing

As a former history major, I've been told a number of times over the years that this is a book I SHOULD have been required to read, so I finally got around to reading it (or rather, listening to it on ... Read full review

Seriously what a great take on civilization!

User Review  - marsattacks28 - Overstock.com

Jared Diamond is a luminary. Say what you will about the present day this book offers such a fantastic telling of how we got to where we are now. Told through anthropological evidence and the genius ... Read full review

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Contents

I
11
II
33
III
35
IV
53
V
67
VI
83
VII
85
VIII
93
XIV
193
XV
195
XVI
215
XVII
239
XVIII
265
XIX
293
XX
295
XXI
322

IX
104
X
114
XI
131
XII
157
XIII
176
XXII
334
XXIII
354
XXIV
376
XXV
403
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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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