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

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (original 1997; edition 1999)

by Jared M. Diamond

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19,740288118 (4.13)551
Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? In this groundbreaking book, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. Here, at last, is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life even more intriguing and important than accounts of dinosaurs and glaciers. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world, and its inequalities, came to be. It is a work rich in dramatic revelations that will fascinate readers even as it challenges conventional wisdom.… (more)
Title:Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Authors:Jared M. Diamond
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1999), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (1997)

Recently added bynathantarr, private library, Crow_Station, quantumamy, PaFJa, SomethingIshy, Hathir
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
  1. 140
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (infiniteletters)
  2. 122
    1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann (VisibleGhost, electronicmemory)
  3. 94
    A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Percevan)
  4. 40
    The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan (TomWaitsTables)
  5. 40
    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Percevan)
    Percevan: Both books are eminently throwing light on the big lines in human history
  6. 40
    Maps of Time : An Introduction to Big History by David Christian (questbird)
    questbird: Big History is a multidisciplinary approach (like Diamond's) which integrates the origin of the universe, deep time, human prehistory and history.
  7. 51
    The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are So Rich and Some So Poor by David S. Landes (Oct326)
    Oct326: La tesi centrale del saggio di Diamond è che la causa dominante dei disuguali gradi di sviluppo tra popolazioni umane sia data dalle condizioni ambientali più o meno favorevoli. Il saggio di Landes ha un argomento un po' differente, e cioè il disuguale grado di sviluppo economico e di ricchezza tra popolazioni. Ma sulle cause di queste differenze è più articolato, e mette in rilievo l'importanza dei fattori culturali. È un punto di vista piuttosto diverso, e questo rende interessante il confronto tra le due opere.… (more)
  8. 30
    The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community by William H. McNeill (wildbill)
    wildbill: William McNeill chronicles the struggle between nomad and sedentary peoples in a book that continues the themes of Guns, Germs and Steel
  9. 30
    Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today by David P. Clark (infiniteletters)
  10. 20
    The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby (John_Vaughan)
  11. 20
    The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes (Percevan)
  12. 20
    From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present by Jacques Barzun (MusicMom41)
    MusicMom41: Guns, Germs and Steel makes a great “prelude’ to Barzun’s book From Dawn to Decadence.
  13. 10
    Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade (IslandDave)
  14. 10
    The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything by Adrian Bejan (br77rino)
  15. 10
    Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths (hohlwelt)
    hohlwelt: Complements very well with what Jared Diamond misses and vice versa.
  16. 43
    The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker (Percevan)
    Percevan: Both books are eminently throwing light on the big lines in human history
  17. 10
    Children of the Ice Age: How a Global Catastrophe Allowed Humans to Evolve by Steven M. Stanley (br77rino)
    br77rino: Children of the Ice Age is an excellent anthropological discussion of the link that became homo sapiens. Guns, Germs, and Steel covers the more recent territory of racial evolution within homo sapiens.
  18. 00
    Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect by Paul R. Ehrlich (bookcrushblog)
  19. 00
    Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich (Cynfelyn)
    Cynfelyn: Who We Are and How We Got Here (2018) is a genetic interpretation successor to the cultural interpretation of Guns, Germs and Steel (1997).
  20. 00
    Four Thousand Years Ago by Geoffrey Bibby (nessreader)

(see all 24 recommendations)


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» See also 551 mentions

English (264)  Italian (9)  Dutch (7)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (288)
Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this. I enjoyed learning about the domestication of plants and animals, I enjoyed learning about odd outliers in the "trend" of human development, I enjoyed learning about how historical shifts can be glimpsed and guessed at by unpicking the linguistic and archeological record. I found it easy to read, if occasionally repetitive. (Then again, the author is drawing together stuff over a wide book, I suppose I can see the benefit of summarising in chapter 17 the stuff we covered in detail in chapter 5.)

I also enjoyed its overall tone. It examines the current Western-European dominance without suggesting that "dominance" means "better". (In fact, more than once it points out quite clearly that Western-Euro stuff is downright stupid in other parts of the world; I thought the author's discussion of how Australian Aborigines were far better adapted to this continent looked pretty accurate, possibly even more so now than at first publication twenty years ago.) I'd have liked to see some topics of the brief final chapter dug into a little more, specifically: 1)the benefit of cultural heterogeneity and correlating varieties of approaches in ensuring the generation of more ideas for tackling problems and therefore better overall survival; and 2) the fate of societies that make stupid environmental decisions and effectively wipe themselves out. Both, I feel, have a great significance to our current world. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
An interesting and intriguing look at different societies and what makes one gain advantage over the other. Diamond presents his evidence fluidly, if but a bit on the technical side, but the book is an astounding achievement in his field and the findings are very conclusive and relevant to our understanding of history. I was especially impressed by his wealth of information, sources, and acuity in determining his observations. For non-fiction lovers, this is not one to be missed.

3.75. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jul 3, 2019 |
Interesting but not 100% convincing. I want to know more about technological regression! ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
I loved the subject matter and well argued theories. My only complaint is that it reads too much like a textbook. ( )
  Brauer11431 | Apr 16, 2019 |
This is a brilliantly written, passionate, whirlwind tour through 13,000 years of history on all the continents – a short history of everything about everybody. The origins of empires, religion, writing, crops, and guns are all here. By at last providing a convincing explanation for the different developments of human societies on different continents, the book demolishes the grounds for racist theories of history. It's account of how the modern world was formed is full of lessons for our own future. After reading the first two pages, you will be able to put it down. – Paul Ehrlich
  PendleHillLibrary | Apr 9, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
In ''Guns, Germs, and Steel,'' an ambitious, highly important book, Jared Diamond asks: How did Pizarro come to be at Cajamarca capturing Atahualpa, instead of Atahualpa in Madrid capturing King Charles I? Why, indeed, did Europeans (and especially western Europeans) and Asians always triumph in their historical conquests of other populations? Why weren't Native Americans, Africans and aboriginal Australians instead the ones who enslaved or exterminated the Europeans?
Jared Diamond has written 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 analysing some of the basic workings of cultural process. . . It is willing to simplify and to generalize; and it does reach conclusions, about ultimate as well as proximate causes, that carry great conviction, and that have rarely, perhaps never, been stated so coherently or effectively before. For that reason, and with few reservations, this book may be welcomed as one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years.
added by jlelliott | editNature, Colin Renfrew (Mar 27, 1997)

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jared Diamondprimary authorall editionscalculated
Diamond. Jaredmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Mie HidleTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cavalli-Sforza, Francescosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi L.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chueca, FabiánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Civalleri, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johansson, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Esa, Kariniga, Omwai, Paran, Sauakari, Wiwor,
and all my other New Guinea friends and
teachers - masters of a difficult environment.
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This book attempts to provide a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years. (Preface to the Paperback Edition)
We all know that history has proceeded very differently for peoples from different parts of the globe. (Prologue)
A suitable starting point from which to compare historical developments on the different continents is around 11,000 B.C.
Yali's question went to the heart of the current human condition, and of post-Pleistocene history. (Epilogue)
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Mobilisant des disciplines aussi diverses que la génétique ,l la biologie moléculaire , l'écologie l'écologies des comportements , l'épidémiologie , la linguistique , et l'histoire des civilisations , à l'ère de la globalisaton , Jared Diamond vous propose opportunément cet essai , en tout point singulier ,sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les sociétés .
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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393317552, 0393061310

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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