Guns, Germs, and outlet sale Steel: The Fates high quality of Human Societies online

Guns, Germs, and outlet sale Steel: The Fates high quality of Human Societies online

Guns, Germs, and outlet sale Steel: The Fates high quality of Human Societies online
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"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.

From Library Journal

Most of this work deals with non-Europeans, but Diamond''s thesis sheds light on why Western civilization became hegemonic: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples'' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." Those who domesticated plants and animals early got a head start on developing writing, government, technology, weapons of war, and immunity to deadly germs. (LJ 2/15/97)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Artful, informative, and delightful.... There is nothing like a radically new angle of vision for bringing out unsuspected dimensions of a subject, and that is what Jared Diamond has done.”
- William H. McNeil, New York Review of Books

“An ambitious, highly important book.”
- James Shreeve, New York Times Book Review

“A book of remarkable scope, a history of the world in less than 500 pages which succeeds admirably, where so many others have failed, in analyzing some of the basic workings of culture process.... One of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years.”
- Colin Renfrew, Nature

“The scope and the explanatory power of this book are astounding.”
- The New Yorker

“No scientist brings more experience from the laboratory and field, none thinks more deeply about social issues or addresses them with greater clarity, than Jared Diamond as illustrated by Guns, Germs, and Steel. In this remarkably readable book he shows how history and biology can enrich one another to produce a deeper understanding of the human condition.”
- Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University

“Serious, groundbreaking biological studies of human history only seem to come along once every generation or so. . . . Now [ Guns, Germs, and Steel] must be added to their select number. . . . Diamond meshes technological mastery with historical sweep, anecdotal delight with broad conceptual vision, and command of sources with creative leaps. No finer work of its kind has been published this year, or for many past.”
- Martin Sieff, Washington Times

“[Diamond] is broadly erudite, writes in a style that pleasantly expresses scientific concepts in vernacular American English, and deals almost exclusively in questions that should interest everyone concerned about how humanity has developed. . . . [He] has done us all a great favor by supplying a rock-solid alternative to the racist answer. . . . A wonderfully interesting book.”
- Alfred W. Crosby, Los Angeles Times

“An epochal work. Diamond has written a summary of human history that can be accounted, for the time being, as Darwinian in its authority.”
- Thomas M. Disch, The New Leader

About the Author

Jared Diamond is professor of geography at UCLA and author of the best-selling Collapse and The Third Chimpanzee. He is a MacArthur Fellow and was awarded the National Medal of Science.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
6,880 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Letholdus Aurelius
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Age of Feelings Over Facts
Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2019
"Aboriginals are smarter than Europeans because I saw one working on a machine once and when I went hunting with them I had no idea what I was doing." - Then why is their tested collective IQ below that of the retardation line? "IQ tests are biased because they... See more
"Aboriginals are smarter than Europeans because I saw one working on a machine once and when I went hunting with them I had no idea what I was doing."
- Then why is their tested collective IQ below that of the retardation line?
"IQ tests are biased because they have a largely cultural component."
- Then why do Asians perform better than Americans and Europeans in those same tests?

This author saturated his book with his obvious bias towards the communities he''s been living with in an grand effort to make them feel better about not succeeding. He couldn''t even substantiate his beginning claims about how Aboriginal Australians are more intelligent than Europeans objectively. He just states a few anecdotes about his experiences and then continues on like he''s now established the truth.

No group of people is inherently less deserving of life, but this modern day effort to discredit the accomplishments of European inventors on mere suspicion of "luck" and "geographical location" due to some magic soil alone is disingenuous at best. He discredits every science that doesn''t have studies he can cherry pick to fit his narrative and just comes off as an SJW mentioning the word "racist" at least 20 times in the prologue. If you only care about feeling good about humanity and don''t want the truth if it''s "mean" or "racist" then this book is for you.
416 people found this helpful
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James T.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Oversimplifies history.. he uses selection bias to prove a thesis that is far fetched.
Reviewed in the United States on September 9, 2018
Where do I begin? Was he paid by the number of pages he wrote? Goes into way too much detail about things no one cares about. Also he is simply selecting things in history that conveniently fit his thesis, this is selection bias. He makes way too many... See more
Where do I begin?
Was he paid by the number of pages he wrote? Goes into way too much detail about things no one cares about.

Also he is simply selecting things in history that conveniently fit his thesis, this is selection bias.
He makes way too many sweeping generalizations and says that is the reason why so and so country is rich today.
He writes that the larger the population a country has (e.g., it will have more Einsteins), the more competition there will be among its people and there will be more innovators among that population and therefore the country will invent more stuff and eventually become richer. If that''s the case then why have no significant inventions come out of India or China in the past 100 years when they have 4x the population of the U.S.?

This book has so many flaws in logic I don''t even know how it is so highly rated on Amazon. Oh wait.. I get it now.
446 people found this helpful
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Sandra L. Poe
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
How did this book win a pulitzer prize?
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2019
Plate 1 in book is grossly inaccurate. The Clovis spear point is, in reality, 3" long and 1" at its widest point. It is very thin with a slightly concave base. It is finely flaked, producing very sharp projectile point. The stone material used is usually chert and of... See more
Plate 1 in book is grossly inaccurate. The Clovis spear point is, in reality, 3" long and 1" at its widest point. It is very thin with a slightly concave base. It is finely flaked, producing very sharp projectile point. The stone material used is usually chert and of varying colors, not white. This picture is so blatantly misrepresented I am surprised it was not caught by someone in the editing process. Books like this one are supposed to be educational. Now many people think that picture is of a Clovis point. In short the book was repetitive of already known history. I am Sandy Poe (Zeimens), an archaeologist who has excavated a Clovis Site. The Colby Site located near Worland, Wyoming is a mammoth kill site using the Clovis complex tools, dating from 11,000 BC. Check the book "Prehistoric Hunters of the High Plains", by George C. Frison. this book illustrates an actual Clovis point. I do not know how one fixes such an error in a prize winning book.
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Mal Warwick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The only persuasive explanation for the wealth gap between the West and the rest
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2017
Two decades ago a UCLA geography professor named Jared Diamond published Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Diamond hypothesized that the arc of human history was dramatically shifted by geographic, environmental, biological, and other factors, resulting... See more
Two decades ago a UCLA geography professor named Jared Diamond published Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Diamond hypothesized that the arc of human history was dramatically shifted by geographic, environmental, biological, and other factors, resulting in the worldwide dominance of the leading industrial powers during the past 500 years. The book won a 1997 Pulitzer Prize and quickly became a New York Times bestseller.

Why is economic development so uneven around the world?

Diamond posed questions fundamental to the experience of the human race. “Why did wealth and power [among nations] become distributed as they now are, rather than in some other way?” “[W]hy did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents?” “[W]hy were Europeans, rather than Africans or Native Americans, the ones to end up with guns, the nastiest germs, and steel?” In his award-winning book, Diamond posited a “unified synthesis”—a unified field theory of history. Drawing from his wide-ranging knowledge of medicine, evolutionary biology, physiology, linguistics, and anthropology as well as geography, he surveyed the history of the past 13,000 years and identified plausible answers to the questions he had posed. In the process, he wrote what I consider to be the single most illuminating book on the history of the human race.

Academic critics howled

However, academic critics howled shortly after the publication of Guns, Germs, and Steel:

They referred to supposed errors in geography and history, which I find largely pointless. For example, geographers complained that Diamond referred to Eurasia as a single continent rather than separately to Asia, North Africa, and Europe. That’s nitpicking, as far as I’m concerned. And many of these “errors” could simply be differences of opinion. Academics are unbearably dogmatic and dismissive of those who reject their pet theories.

Some accused him of racism, although he rejected racist explanations early, forcefully, and often. That criticism is not only unsupported by Diamond’s book, it’s insulting to the reader.

The most common and far-reaching complaint was that Diamond had succumbed to the heresy of “environmental determinism.” Understandably, Diamond grounded his argument in geographic and environmental factors—but he repeatedly cited numerous other influences as well. Ultimately, of course, everything we humans do, and everything we’ve done in the millions of years since our ancestors first climbed out of the trees, has been environmentally determined.

There were complaints that Diamond had overlooked the contrast between temperate and tropical zones (he didn’t) and that he had only explained what happened 500 years ago but not subsequently (untrue). It might appear that at least some of Diamond’s critics never read the book.

However, the most aggravating criticism was that he had ignored the motives that led the industrial nations to undertake colonialism and imperialism on a broad scale. Diamond addressed only the means that enabled the colonial powers to dominate, not the reasons why they chose to do so. To my mind, that’s no error. He didn’t pretend to explain colonialism and imperialism, merely to describe how it had become possible.

Is it possible that most of these academic critics were simply bitter that Diamond hadn’t cited their own specialized research?

The roots of academic criticism

Though the critics undoubtedly uncovered a misplaced fact or unwarranted conclusion here and there through the book, the errors were exceedingly minor in the context of Diamond’s expansive hypothesis. It should be clear to any dispassionate reader that the academic reaction stemmed, above all, from narrow-mindedness and jealousy. The world of academia today is atomized. Specialties, sub-specialties, and sub-sub-specialties abound. It’s not unusual for a scholar to build a career on the study of a single obscure question that, when answered, will be of interest to virtually nobody. Interdisciplinary studies are frowned upon in most academic circles. Generalists are regarded as “not serious.” And scholars who write popular books, must less bestsellers, can expect a chilly reception from their peers.

A wealth of meaning behind the title

To understand where the academic critics went wrong, it’s useful to look at what Diamond signified by his title, Guns, Germs, and Steel. Early in his book, he dwells on the confrontation between the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the Inca god-king Atahuallpa. “The immediate reasons for Pizarro’s success included military technology based on guns, steel weapons [such as swords and daggers], and horses; infectious diseases endemic in Eurasia; European maritime technology; the centralized political organization of European states; and writing. The title of this book will serve as shorthand for those proximate factors.”

Diamond’s argument in a nutshell

In a Prologue, Diamond poses the question at the heart of this book. He quotes a friend in what is now Papua New Guinea from a conversation in 1972, when he was studying bird evolution there: “‘Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo [goods] and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?''” To answer the question, Diamond begins his story around the year 11,000 BCE, when the last Ice Age was drawing to a close and human beings were beginning to form villages in a few places around the world. It’s unclear whether the formation of villages preceded the deliberate cultivation and production of food, or vice versa. However, regardless of the sequence, that shift from hunter-gatherer society to agriculturally based settlements set in motion the course of events that have led to the “civilization” in which we live.

Diamond argues, convincingly, that the much greater availability of domesticable plants and large animals in Eurasia than in sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. Furthermore, he explains that the east-west orientation of Eurasia from the Bering Strait to the Atlantic Ocean made it possible for the development of agriculture and animal husbandry to spread quickly to distant lands. By contrast, the north-south orientation of the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa—and the presence of barriers such as the Sahara Desert, the Panamanian Isthmus, and the deserts of northern Mexico and southwestern United States—impeded the spread of these (and, later, other) new technologies to the extremities of those continents. The advent of food production enabled the development of ever-larger settlements. This, in turn, spelled the emergence of labor specialization and eventually the growth of empires as well as the appearance and spread of communicable diseases contracted from domesticated animals. Those differences in historical development eventually led to the “guns, germs, and steel” that made Eurasian dominance possible—and dictated the huge differences in economic development between what today we call East and West.

Guns, Germs, and Steel is crammed with facts and densely written. It doesn’t make for light reading. But if you have any interest in understanding how the world came to be as it is, you’ll find this book highly rewarding.
606 people found this helpful
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H. Peter Nennhaus
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
What has caused civilizations to differ?
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2017
Here is an author with an inquisitive mind. He searches, not how human races are different, but how they got there. What are the mechanisms that drove their various civilizations in such different trajectories? There exist only a limited number of plants and mammals that... See more
Here is an author with an inquisitive mind. He searches, not how human races are different, but how they got there. What are the mechanisms that drove their various civilizations in such different trajectories? There exist only a limited number of plants and mammals that lend themselves to domestication and their availability determines the chances of hunter-gatherers to turn into a settled society and to progress in further advancement. In ancient times, if those essential domesticates were not present on your continent, you were indeed a have-not. In these pages you travel around the world and witness, how such factors have favored some sections of humanity more than others.
This book is a wellspring of information about where we come from and the author distributes it out of a basket of abundant knowledge. You witness the changing face of humanity, usually under the passionate hand of brutality, from Khoisans to Bantus in Africa, from Negritos to Austro-Asians and Austronesians in the Far East, from the Ainus to Japanese, and then of course in that collision of the white man with the Redskins. The incredible judgment dispensed by Francisco Pizarro upon the Incas, supposedly in honor of the Church and the Holy Roman Emperor, will make you shake your head for a long time.
In contrast to such scholarly research, it is hard to stomach the tasteless comments in some of the one-star reviews of this book. They remind you of what the Bible says about pearls and where you are not to cast them.
111 people found this helpful
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Justin
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Author is biased
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2018
Auther is very biased and has a skewed viewpoint. Author constantly contridicts themselves. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is a better choice for learning the history of the world and how certain groups of humans dominated the world.
104 people found this helpful
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ChemTeach
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Explains why human societies differ
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2018
I first saw a documentary that is based on this book. Because of the documentary, I bought this book. The best part of this book is that it is loaded with details and facts to support the author''s message; no human race is inferior to another. Oddly, my least favorite part... See more
I first saw a documentary that is based on this book. Because of the documentary, I bought this book. The best part of this book is that it is loaded with details and facts to support the author''s message; no human race is inferior to another. Oddly, my least favorite part is also that the book is loaded with details. At times my reading would get bogged down or I would get a bit lost because I was overwhelmed with all the facts. But I put on my big girl pants and keep reading. Most importantly, I learned a lot about how humans came to be industrialized on one geographical location and not so much in another.
41 people found this helpful
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Stephen
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Clear bias and claims that disconnect with logic and reason.
Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2019
Only took the author till the 2nd page to start virtue signaling about racism. The author wants to push aboriginal communities were just as intelligent and successful as European and Asian communities historically. Which anyone with eyes and a vague knowledge of history... See more
Only took the author till the 2nd page to start virtue signaling about racism. The author wants to push aboriginal communities were just as intelligent and successful as European and Asian communities historically. Which anyone with eyes and a vague knowledge of history knows that''s not true. I regret purchasing this and couldn''t force myself to endure such a masochistic trial as reading this whole book would entail.
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Top reviews from other countries

Grognard
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Genuinely groundbreaking. I wish I had read it when it first came out!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2017
How this book managed to pass me by for the last 20 years is beyond me, but it did, and I was much the poorer for it! I suspect it was down to the somewhat misleading subtitle, Its not a short history of the world, it is instead an attempt to explain why some parts of the...See more
How this book managed to pass me by for the last 20 years is beyond me, but it did, and I was much the poorer for it! I suspect it was down to the somewhat misleading subtitle, Its not a short history of the world, it is instead an attempt to explain why some parts of the world developed much quicker than others, and how we have reached the relative balance of civilization(s) that we have today. The core of the argument is in the title, but its much more complex than that, and the author does an excellent job in laying out his arguments and providing the underpinning evidence for them. Others reviewers have said its a dry read. Believe me, its not! I have read scientific journals much drier than this! Inevitably some of the topics, such how some plants and animals have been domesticated can be a dry topic, but the author does a really good job in making the explanations easier to follow. The astonishing thing about this book is that it has pulled evidence from a wide variety of sources to build up such a coherent and plausible picture. The author is a genuine polymath and his masterly analysis of topics from such a wide variety of scientific and historical fields is breathtaking. It was fully deserving of its Pulitzer prize . Its easy to see why this book is unpopular with some sections of society, it undermines the basis of many other theories about racial, cultural and religeous supremacy. I am convinced however, that this will be seen as one of a select few landmark books that shape the way we perceive our origins in the years to come. The Kindle version is good conversion of the original book. The diagrams can be effectively magnified to fill the page, the tables do not loose format and there are hyperlinks to the tables and diagrams included within the text where necessary. Unfortunately the plate illustrations have not been included, probably to reduce the overall file size; however, I did not find this to be a problem in following the arguments within the text.
59 people found this helpful
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Niall O'Connor
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Seems to fall at the first hurdle.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2018
I have only read the introduction and the first chapter, but already given up. The book seems to be premised around the notion of the Great Leap Forward. However three recent discoveries would seem to seriously call into question this notion; Pre-Clovis occupation 14,550...See more
I have only read the introduction and the first chapter, but already given up. The book seems to be premised around the notion of the Great Leap Forward. However three recent discoveries would seem to seriously call into question this notion; Pre-Clovis occupation 14,550 years ago at the Page-Ladson site, Florida; U-Th dating of carbonate crusts has revealed Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art; a bone fragment from Denisova Cave (Russia) shows that it came from an individual who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. I will happily read the rest of the book, when the author reviews his theories in the light of these recent developments.
37 people found this helpful
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Marcus Gallardo
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tedious love letter to New Guinea
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2018
Having read Sapiens with its great anthropological history of man I wanted more of the same. I got this based on other reviews and am disappointed. It starts with a man who has obviously been to New Guinea and felt a connection with the people there. This connection...See more
Having read Sapiens with its great anthropological history of man I wanted more of the same. I got this based on other reviews and am disappointed. It starts with a man who has obviously been to New Guinea and felt a connection with the people there. This connection continues throughout what is an impenetrable book. The tiny writing and boring recounting of human history from A to J then back to D is like a Tarantino film. I couldn’t tell you if it ties together or not in the end as I kept skipping forward to the next chapter. Don’t believe the hype.
28 people found this helpful
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Dave Hodgkinson
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Don’t bother
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2018
Generally the books faults are covered by other reviews and I think bill brysons short history is much accessible. My chief issue though is the stupidly small font. It was a chore to read frankly and had I opened this before the expiry date for returns I’d have sent it back...See more
Generally the books faults are covered by other reviews and I think bill brysons short history is much accessible. My chief issue though is the stupidly small font. It was a chore to read frankly and had I opened this before the expiry date for returns I’d have sent it back once I saw the font. It sounds like a petty thing to mention but when it’s a thick book on a dense topic having it in what seems like 7pt just makes no sense whatsoever. The publisher really ought to know better.
20 people found this helpful
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Mr. B. Slight
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The text is tiny
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 10, 2018
With apologies to the author, whose book I really want to read. It just isn’t possible to open this (B-format) edition without the knowledge that you’ll have a migraine after 5 pages. The publisher has clearly taken a cost-saving decision to shrink the pages from the...See more
With apologies to the author, whose book I really want to read. It just isn’t possible to open this (B-format) edition without the knowledge that you’ll have a migraine after 5 pages. The publisher has clearly taken a cost-saving decision to shrink the pages from the hardback rather than reflow the text. Very disappointed.
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Guns, Germs, and outlet sale Steel: The Fates high quality of Human Societies online

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