Guns, Germs and Steel

Guns, Germs and Steel : The Fates of Human Societies

  • Hardback
By (author) Jared M. Diamond

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The broadest pattern of human history consists of the differences that emerged prehistorically in rates of human development on different continents, and that led to today's inequalities. This book abandons the conventional distinctions between history and science. By focusing on what ancient peoples were endowed with in the way of land, animals and plants, and on the confrontations between less and more advanced peoples, Diamond sheds genuinely new light on the world's most explosive divisions.

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  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.22 x 38.1mm | 861.82g
  • 03 Apr 1997
  • VINTAGE
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London
  • 24 line and b&w illustrations
  • 0224038095
  • 9780224038096

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Author Information

Jared Diamond trained in physiology and later took up the study of ecology, making fundamental contributions to both disciplines. He is among the worlds leading zoologists and experts on birds. He has made many trips to the mountains of New Guinea to study their unique birds, rediscovered their long-lost bowerbird, and advised New Guinea governments on conservation.

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Review text

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)

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