Guns, Germs, and Steel

The Fates of Human Societies

Hardcover, 480 pages

English language

Published March 25, 1997 by W.W. Norton & Co..

ISBN:
9780393038910

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (66 reviews)

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (previously titled Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years) is a 1997 transdisciplinary non-fiction book by Jared Diamond. In 1998, Guns, Germs, and Steel won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction 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.The book attempts to explain why Eurasian and North African civilizations have survived and conquered others, while arguing against the idea 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 primarily 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 …

39 editions

Review of 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I watched the documentary based on this book years ago, but finally got around to reading the book. The book was also a lot longer than it needed to be. The entire second part of the book was a repeat of the first part, with the only difference that part two was organized by continent instead of by theme. I recommend watching the documentary instead of reading the book.

Review of 'Guns, germs, and steel' on Goodreads

4 stars

1) ''The most dramatic moment in subsequent European-North American relations was the first encounter between the Inca emperor Atahuallpa and the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro at the Peruvian highland town of Cajamarca on November 16, 1532. Atahuallpa was absolute monarch of the largest and most advanced state in the New World, while Pizarro represented the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (also known as King Charles I of Spain), monarch of the most powerful state in Europe. Pizarro, leading a ragtag group of 168 Spanish soldiers, was in unfamiliar terrain, ignorant of the local inhabitants, completely out of touch with the nearest Spaniards (1,000 miles to the north in Panama) and far beyond the reach of timely reinforcements. Atahuallpa was in the middle of his own empire of millions of subjects and immediately surrounded by his army of 80,000 soldiers, recently victorious in a war with other Indians. Nevertheless, Pizarro captured …

Review of 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This book takes a hard question and looks it straight in the eye, and patiently and dispassionately exorcises it of demons. The question Mr. Diamond addresses is: why is it that some cultures, races, and nations conquered others? This is the type of question that most people avoid even contemplating, due to its seemingly underlying racist assumptions. But the answers that are brought forth completely eliminate any possible basis for racism, and instead establish the factors of simple chance based on evolution due to geography and environment. A lot of the other reviewers on this site seemed to be off-put or mortified by Mr. Diamond's research, and I don't really understand them. This book is powerful in it's insistence on historical truth and scientific understanding, and its multidisciplinary integration is truly groundbreaking. I think this is a great companion book to philosophical treatises like [book: The Life Divine] or [book:Sex, …

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Subjects

  • Social evolution
  • Civilization -- History
  • Ethnology
  • Human beings -- Effect of environment on
  • Culture diffusion

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