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Why has human history unfolded so differently across the globe? 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 is a ground-breaking and humane work of popular science.show more
I cannot recommend this book too highly. A magnificent exploration of why and how humanity has developed so diversely over time. Perhaps its most important role is to dispel the myth that some of us are primitive and others developed. A hard belief to shake when confronted with small groups of naked people living in jungles and comparing them to the inhabitants of Tokyo or New York, but this book manages it well. Through its many examples we can see the intelligent and rational responses, that are the hall mark of all humans, to the varied situations and circumstances we find ourselves in.
This is a panoramic view of human history. The book seeks to explain why some people have managed to split the atom and put a man on the moon while others remain rooted in a stone age society. Diamond argues that is not down to differences in intellegence, creativity etc but rather the particular environmental circumstances people find themselves. Only certain parts of the planet has allowed crop and animal domestication. The diffusion of the knowledge has also been circumscribed by environmental and geogrphical factors. It is the creative interactions with these environments by humans which determine how progress is made. Some people have found themselves in blind alleys and cul de sacs but others have been able to evolve and develope to create our modern society. The arguement is convincing from a historical perspective. How it will apply in a more global society remains to be seen. Diamond acknowledges that his study is still at the very broad brush stage and invites others to engage in to fill in the pieces or challenge the wider approach he has taken.