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

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Description

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."—Bill Gates
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

Publishers Weekly Review

Dec 30, 1996 – In a boldly ambitious analysis of history's broad patterns, evolutionary biologist Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee) identifies food production as a key to the glaring inequalities of wealth and power in the modern world. Dense, agriculture-based populations, unlike relatively egalitarian hunter-gatherers, bred chiefs, kings and bureaucratic "kleptocracies" that transferred wealth from commoners to upper classes. Such bureaucracies, Diamond maintains, were essential to organizing wars of conquest; moreover, farming societies were able to support full-time craft specialists who developed technical innovations and steel weapons. As a result, European conquerors and their colonizing descendants, bringing guns, cavalry and infectious diseases, overwhelmed the native peoples of North and South America, Africa and Australia. Using molecular biological studies, Diamond, a professor at UCLA Medical School, illuminates why Eurasian germs spreading animal-derived diseases proved so devastating to indigenous societies on other continents. Refuting racist explanations for presumed differences in intelligence or technological capability and eschewing a Eurocentric worldview, he argues persuasively that accidental differences in geography and environment, combined with centuries of conquest, genocide and epidemics, shaped the disparate populations of today's world. His masterful synthesis is a refreshingly unconventional history informed by anthropology, behavioral ecology, linguistics, epidemiology, archeology and technological development. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC, History Book Club, QPB and Newbridge Book Clubs selections.

Customer Reviews

Don't go digital with this one

The lack of figures in this digital copy is disappointing to say the least. A lot of information will never be delivered to the reader the way the author intended. A least the seller should inform this clearly in advance for the customer to make an informed purchase. I feel assaulted in my good faith.

Figures, pictures, and graphs???

Loving the book, but HATING not having figures, pictures, and graphs. Please put them in or online or something.

No figures. Go figure.

No reflection on the author (unless it was his decree), but there is no excuse for not including the figures of the printed edition. I'm half way through reading this work and cannot get past the insult of not including the figures every time the narrative references them. Why doesn't the publisher "do the right thing" and update/republish this work with the figures.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Apr 17, 1999
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 528 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings