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Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years by [Diamond, Jared]

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Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 100 ratings

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Length: 571 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English
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Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye--and his heart--belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he has done field work for more than 30 years.


Guns, Germs and Steel is an artful, informative and delightful book...there is nothing like a radically new angle of vision for bringing out unsuspected dimensions of subject and that is what Jared Diamond has done. -- William H McNeil, The New York Review of Books, May 15, 1997

Jared 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 developed. . . .Reading Diamond is like watching someone riding a unicycle, balancing an eel on his nose and juggling five squealing piglets. You may or may not agree with him (I usually do), but he rivets your attention.

Guns, Germs, and Steel is his answer to a question proffered by his New Guinean friend, Yali: "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo [steel axes, umbrellas, matches, soft drinks, etc.- the material stuff of civilization], but we black people had little cargo of our own?" It is an obvious and important question, and one to which professional historians, including myself, tend to react as if we'd discovered a coral snake in the shower...we shy away from Yali's question because the easiest answer is one that many bray and bray about and others would rather die than utter. Race...

Jared Diamond had done us all a great favor by supplying a rock-solid alternative to the racist answer...

...This is a wonderfully interesting book, especially for historians of the usual liberal arts background, who will find the final chapter, "The Future of Hisotry as a Science," alone worth the price of admission. In it, Diamond argues that students of humanity- while they cannot be as precise as physicists and chemists with their laboratory experiments, nor can they run history over again to see if this change can produce that result- have examples and "natural experiments" with which they can fashion informative comparisons.

Why did Christendom enthusiastically and permanently adopt the wheel, the key element in most machinery, while the Islamic societies largely discarded it? What happened when syphilis first appeared, as compared to what is happening today with the appearance of AIDS? What is happening to society in the highlands of Diamond's home-away-from-home, Paupa New Guinea, where people have hurtled from the technology of the stone ax to that of the computer within a lifetime? Diamond's lesson is this: Think big like our astronomers, who begin their training not by trying to understand the nervous gyrations of the members of the asteroid belt but the simple and stately movements of the major planets over the years, decades and centuries. Think big. "Guns, Germs, and Steel" is a provocative start. -- Alfred W. Crosby, Los Angeles Times 3/9/97

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 66570 KB
  • Print Length: 571 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (4 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DQ8GDV8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Customer Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #351 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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