Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everbody for the Last 13000 Years

Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everbody for the Last 13000 Years

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Jared M. Diamond

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 192mm x 34mm | 400g
  • Publication date: 26 April 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099302780
  • ISBN 13: 9780099302780
  • Illustrations note: 32 b&w halftones
  • Sales rank: 562

Product description

Why has human history unfolded so differently across the globe? Jared Diamond puts the case that geography and biogeography, not race, moulded the contrasting fates of Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, sub-Saharan Africans, and aboriginal Australians. An ambitious synthesis of history, biology, ecology and linguistics, Guns, Germs and Steel is a ground-breaking and humane work of popular science.

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Author information

Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Until recently he was Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies, which also is the winner of Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.

Customer reviews

By Kilronan 01 Dec 2012 4

This is a panoramic view of human history. The book seeks to explain why some people have managed to split the atom and put a man on the moon while others remain rooted in a stone age society.

Diamond argues that is not down to differences in intellegence, creativity etc but rather the particular environmental circumstances people find themselves. Only certain parts of the planet has allowed crop and animal domestication. The diffusion of the knowledge has also been circumscribed by environmental and geogrphical factors.

It is the creative interactions with these environments by humans which determine how progress is made. Some people have found themselves in blind alleys and cul de sacs but others have been able to evolve and develope to create our modern society.

The arguement is convincing from a historical perspective. How it will apply in a more global society remains to be seen.

Diamond acknowledges that his study is still at the very broad brush stage and invites others to engage in to fill in the pieces or challenge the wider approach he has taken.

By Jocelyn Willbond 10 Sep 2011 5

I cannot recommend this book too highly. A magnificent exploration of why and how humanity has developed so diversely over time. Perhaps its most important role is to dispel the myth that some of us are primitive and others developed. A hard belief to shake when confronted with small groups of naked people living in jungles and comparing them to the inhabitants of Tokyo or New York, but this book manages it well. Through its many examples we can see the intelligent and rational responses, that are the hall mark of all humans, to the varied situations and circumstances we find ourselves in.

Review quote

"Monumental and monumentally good" -- William Leith, 4 stars Scotsman "A book of big questions, and big answers" -- Yuval Noah Harari Geographical "A book of remarkable scope... One of the most important and readable works on the human past" Nature "Fascinating, coherent, compassionate and completely accessible" Sunday Telegraph "A prodigious, convincing work, conceived on a grand scale" Observer

Editorial reviews

The fate of the native Americans was sealed in the late Pleistocene when their ancestors, spreading across the continent, wiped out the large land mammals. The lack of suitable creatures to domesticate at a later stage of cultural development left the people with no resistance to the kind of germs - flu, tuberculosis, measles - that humans originally picked up from cattle and pigs. It was germ warfare that enabled a few boatloads of Spaniards to subjugate the Americas. Geography, climate and microbiology are the mainstays of Diamond's overview of evolution, which sets out to demolish racism and to answer the interesting question, 'Why did wealth and power become distributed as they now are, rather than in some other way?' He makes the answer seem so obvious that you think you could have figured it out for yourself. The very broad sweep entails some omissions and generalizations, but the result is a solid basis for the study of history. (Kirkus UK)