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

by Jared DIAMOND

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Civilizations Rise and Fall (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
25,198377133 (4.1)594
History. Sociology. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

"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.… (more)
  1. 170
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared M. Diamond (infiniteletters)
  2. 152
    1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann (VisibleGhost, electronicmemory)
  3. 104
    A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Percevan)
  4. 61
    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)
  5. 50
    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. 50
    The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan (TomWaitsTables)
  7. 40
    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
  8. 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.
  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: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life by Jacques Barzun (MusicMom41)
    MusicMom41: Guns, Germs and Steel makes a great “prelude’ to Barzun’s book From Dawn to Decadence.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 10
    Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths (hohlwelt)
    hohlwelt: Complements very well with what Jared Diamond misses and vice versa.
  16. 10
    The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything by Adrian Bejan (br77rino)
  17. 10
    The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World by David W. Anthony (tcg17321)
  18. 11
    Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade (IslandDave)
  19. 00
    Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect by Paul R. Ehrlich (bookcrushblog)
  20. 00
    A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright (thebookpile)

(see all 26 recommendations)

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» See also 594 mentions

English (342)  Italian (11)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (3)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (373)
Showing 1-5 of 342 (next | show all)
Interesting framework

This seems to me like am interesting framework from which to view history however I don't see how this information helps in looking at current times or the future. If environment and geography are ultimate causes how can those factors be changed? Does this mean that in a few thousand years poorer countries will become less poor as they become more acclimated to the factors rich countries have longer exposure too? Overall I found the book pretty dry and was put off by the numerous times the author accused competing theories as simply racist. ( )
  J3R3 | Apr 19, 2024 |
Top 10 books I read. Definitely in the list of books to carry to a desert island. ( )
  PedroCurtoSimoes | Apr 1, 2024 |
A compelling argument for interpretation of societies in relation to environmental change. ( )
  sfj2 | Mar 29, 2024 |
Interesting, but way too drawn out and dry. The idea of "Why did X develop in one part of the world but not another?" is neat, but he has a tendency to go off-topic and get into too much unrelated detail. Also, there is a strong bias towards New Guinea. ( )
  kylecarroll | Mar 7, 2024 |
I read 2/3 of this in the mid-2000s and let's be real, I'm never going to finish that last 1/3.
1 vote caedocyon | Feb 21, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 342 (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 (49 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
DIAMOND, Jaredprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cavalli-Sforza, Francescosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
CAVALLI-SFORZA, Luigi Lsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chueca, FabiánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Civalleri, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johansson, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mie HidleTranslatorsecondary 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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History. Sociology. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

"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.

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A lavishly illustrated 20th anniversary edition of Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning exploration of how and why Eurasians developed the weapons, diseases and technologies that enabled them to dominate the rest of the world.
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