Germs steel and guns book
Book Review: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Guns, Germs and Steel – and a ploughman's lunch
O h, for more history written by biologists. The great thing about Guns, Germs and Steel is the detail: Jared Diamond starts with a proposition every good Guardian reader would wish to believe — that all humans are born with much the same abilities — and then proceeds to argue, through meticulous and logical steps, that the playing field of prehistory was anything but level. The inequalities kicked off with the development of agriculture in one small part of the world, the so-called Fertile Crescent in what is now western Asia. Agriculture stimulates increasing population density, which means disease, which means acquired immunity. Civilisation requires the food surplus only agriculture can provide, but it also imposes a need for specialisation, for technology, for ingenuity.
When two strong men stand face to face,though they come from the ends of the earth. The result is an exciting and absorbing account of human history since the Pleistocene age, which culminates in a sketch of a future scientific basis for studying the history of humans that will command the same intellectual respect as current scientific studies of the history of other natural phenomena such as dinosaurs, nebulas and glaciers. This is an ambitious project, and no reviewer can comment on all of it with equal authority. My own background as an historian of European expansion and Asian response over the last two hundred years requires me to take most of the account of prehistory on trust - which is a drawback since Diamond asserts that most of the really important influences on modern history had already occurred before the birth of Christ. To a non-specialist, the account of human prehistory presented here seems plausible and well-founded - the argument is that, as homo sapiens evolved in Africa and migrated to colonise first Asia, then Europe, then Australia, and finally the Americas, so a technical progression from hunting to settled agriculture, and a societal progression from warring bands to complex sedentary civilisations took place largely determined by the environmental conditions in which different branches of the same species found themselves.
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Why has human history unfolded so differently across the globe? In this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 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 remains a groundbreaking and humane work of popular science. One of the most important and readable works on the human past". For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more. By signing up, I confirm that I'm over
Print eBook Audiobook. Some environments provide more starting materials and more favorable conditions for utilizing inventions and building societies than other environments. This is particularly notable in the rise of European peoples, which occurred because of environmental differences and not because of biological differences in the people themselves. There are four primary reasons Europeans rose to power and conquered the natives of North and South America, and not the other way around: 1 the continental differences in the plants and animals available for domestication, which led to more food and larger populations in Europe and Asia, 2 the rate of diffusion of agriculture, technology and innovation due to the geographic orientation of Europe and Asia east-west compared to the Americas north-south , 3 the ease of intercontinental diffusion between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and 4 the differences in continental size, which led to differences in total population size and technology diffusion. My notes are informal and often contain quotes from the book as well as my own thoughts.
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 development among Eurasians of resistance to endemic diseases , he asserts that these advantages occurred because of the influence of geography on societies and cultures for example, by facilitating commerce and trade between different cultures and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes. The prologue opens with an account of Diamond's conversation with Yali , a New Guinean politician. The conversation turned to the obvious differences in power and technology between Yali's people and the Europeans who dominated the land for years, differences that neither of them considered due to any genetic superiority of Europeans. Yali asked, using the local term " cargo " for inventions and manufactured goods, "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?