[PDF] Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies: A novel

ISBN: 0393317552

Category: Tutorial

Posted on 2017-10-23, by luongquocchinh.


Author: Jared M. Diamond | Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company | Category: Fiction Other | Language: English | Page: 480 | ISBN: 0393317552 | ISBN13: 9780393317558 |

Description: In one compelling volume, the famous biologist Jared Diamond tackles the most important question of global history: Why did Europeans come to dominate the New World? This question has been answered by others before Diamond's idea that Europe's geography is the cause ("geographical determinism") has also been proposed before. Any student of history can drag up a case or two of this thesis. Baron Montaigne, for example, proposed that Europe's primacy stemmed from its superior government, which could be derived directly from the coolness of its climate. The deep significance of this book is that Diamond's thesis is not simply idle speculation. He proves that the Eurasian land mass had by far the best biological resources with which to develop agricultural societies, and was thus more able to form large, coherent, and powerful social entities. To support this idea, Diamond introduces thorough set of well-researched data on what kinds of plants and animals are necessary to support a farming society. He investigates the biological resources available to potential farmers in all parts of the world. The people of Eurasia had access to a suite of plants and animals that provided for their needs. Potential farmers in other parts of the world didn't and so their fertile soil went untilled. After establishing this strong foundation, Diamond falls into repeating ideas about the formation of large-scale societies. These ideas, while unoriginal, are still compelling, and Diamond presents them in a very clear and well-written way. His other major original contribution comes when he discusses the diseases that helped the Old World conquer the New. Building on his earlier chapters dealing with Old-World domesticated animals, he shows that these very animals were the sources of the major plagues (such as smallpox) which virtually annihilated New World populations. The fact that Old Worlders had immunities to these diseases was a direct result of their agricultural head-start. Along with these monumental contributions to History, this book has its drawbacks. If you're looking for a narrative explaining Great People, Great Events, or Modern Ideas, you will be sadly disappointed. Diamond's thesis offhandedly assumes that it is difficult to believe Shakespeare's plays or Newton's laws could have been written by hunter-gatherers. If you are looking for reasons why Europe came to dominate the world, rather than, say, China, Diamond presents mixed results. He mentions the 14th century self-isolation of China, but does not analyze it. He also brings up the odd theory about the relationship between the coastline lengths of Europe and China and trade potential this idea is provably wrong. If you are looking for a book that explains the world's history of the past 500 years, look elsewhere. Guns, Germs and Steel exhausts itself by effectively, coherently, fundamentally, definitively, and entertainingly explaining the preceeding 15,000. I do not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone with an interest in world history. The scholarship is first-rate, and the thesis is incredibly significant. The technical details, while complete, are presented in a very easy to understand way, and Diamond's writing style is fun and engaging. It fully deserved the Pulitzer prize

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