Cover image for Guns, germs, & steel [the fates of human societies]
Title:
Guns, germs, & steel [the fates of human societies]
Author:
Diamond, Jared M.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Abridged.
Publication Information:
St. Paul, Minn. : HighBridge Co., [2001]

â„—1998
Physical Description:
5 audio discs (6 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Subtitle from container.

Compact disc.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781565115149
UPC:
025024889691
Format :
Audiobook on CD

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HM206 .D482 1998 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
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Summary

Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer PrizeIn this groundbreaking work, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. It is a story that spans 13,000 years of human history, beginning when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Guns, Germs, and Steel is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life.


Author Notes

Jared Mason Diamond is a physiologist, ecologist, and the author of several popular science books. Born in Boston in 1937, Diamond earned his B.A. at Harvard and his Ph.D. from Cambridge. A distinguished teacher and researcher, Diamond is well-known for the columns he contributes to the widely read magazines Natural History and Discover.

Diamond's book The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal was heralded for its accessibility and for its blending of science and social science. The interdisciplinary Guns, Germs and Steel--Diamond's examination of the relationship between scientific technology and economic disparity--won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. Diamond has won a McArthur Foundation Fellowship in addition to several smaller awards for his science and writing.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In the course of history, some groups conquered, some were conquered. UCLA physiology professor Diamond investigates why, arguing that it has nothing to do with race. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, this usually soft spoken academic is willing to assert that Diamond's book is one of very few that could have a real impact on world understanding if it were widely read. Diamond wrestles with the huge question of why some societies became so rich and powerful -- and why others remain relatively poor and powerless. To answer so enormous a question, the author addresses many other fundamental questions. Among these are how and why did food production begin? What differences did this make? How did it spread? Why were some animals domesticated and others not? How did writing evolve, and why does it matter? Diamond poses similar questions with respect to technology, religion, and government. He writes clearly and in an engrossing manner, with a consistent (but not heavy-handed) grounding in evolutionary theory. He is a biologist who neatly interweaves data and insights from many other disciplines, including geography and anthropology, which are too often overlooked. A subsidiary theme of this work is discrediting racist theories of history, which Diamond does deftly and consistently throughout, with no resort to polemic. Several apt but unfamiliar illustrations complement the text, which is thoroughly authoritative despite the absence of footnotes or endnotes. A discursive bibliographic essay on each chapter can be helpful to anyone who wants to pursue a topic in greater depth. All levels. D. B. Heath; Brown University


Excerpts

Excerpts

Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse?In this groundbreaking work, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. It is a story that spans 13,000 years of human history, beginning when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Here is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life. Excerpted from Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.