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Guns, Germs And Steel: A Short History of Everbody for the Last 13000 Years

Guns, Germs And Steel: A Short History of Everbody for the Last 13000 Years [Kindle Edition]

Jared Diamond
4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (237 Kundenrezensionen)

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Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye--and his heart--belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he has done field work for more than 30 years.

Life isn't fair--here's why: Since 1500, Europeans have, for better and worse, called the tune that the world has danced to. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond explains the reasons why things worked out that way. It is an elemental question, and Diamond is certainly not the first to ask it. However, he performs a singular service by relying on scientific fact rather than specious theories of European genetic superiority. Diamond, a professor of physiology at UCLA, suggests that the geography of Eurasia was best suited to farming, the domestication of animals and the free flow of information. The more populous cultures that developed as a result had more complex forms of government and communication--and increased resistance to disease. Finally, fragmented Europe harnessed the power of competitive innovation in ways that China did not. (For example, the Europeans used the Chinese invention of gunpowder to create guns and subjugate the New World.) Diamond's book is complex and a bit overwhelming. But the thesis he methodically puts forth--examining the "positive feedback loop" of farming, then domestication, then population density, then innovation, and on and on--makes sense. Written without bias, Guns, Germs, and Steel is good global history.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
65 von 70 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen An overrated book 25. Februar 2005
Von Lucullus
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
Jared Diamond is a thoroughgoing geographical determinist. His book highlights both the strengths and the weaknesses of this approach.
Diamond's major topic is the Neolithic Revolution. His intention is to demonstrate that environmental conditions were not equally suitable to the development of agriculture on different continents. Eurasia, he contends, was the most appropriate place. It had the largest number of domesticable plants and animals, an east-west axis favoring the diffusion of inventions, offered good possibilities for inter-continental communication, and was the largest and most populous continent. So the Eurasians were first in developing agriculture, gaining thus a headstart in history. Agriculture led to rising populations and created a dynamic that prompted the evolution of states, writing and a sophisticated technology (guns and steel). These social and technological advantages, plus immunity to the most dangerous infectious diseases (germs), allowed Eurasians to easily subdue the natives of the Americas, Australia and Southeast Asia.
On the whole this argument, which takes up the first 410 pages of the book, is convincing. Diamond is also right to insist on adopting a long time-frame. As early as 8000 years ago Eurasians had a substantial edge over their rivals on other continents, making it unlikely for those peoples and civilizations to catch up.
Had Diamond stopped writing at this point, he would have published a good work.
However, he was not content to treat only the Neolithic Revolution, but wanted to cover all major turns in world history. Hence the last 15 (!) pages of the book are devoted to a completely different subject. Having explained the rise of Eurasia, Diamond now wants to explain the rise of the West.
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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Valid ideas, well-presented 14. September 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Diamond takes on an extremely complicated topic that spans essentially all of human history and boils it down to some very basic premises. For example, he argues that Eurasia (i.e. Europe and Asia) enjoyed the advantage of the lion's share of the most desirable and domesticatable grains and large mammals. This advantage led to earlier agriculture, which led to denser populations, which led to more specialization, which led to better technology and organization, which led to societies better equipped to wage war and conquer their neighbors. Other reviewers, however, take Diamond to task. But is this premise really so darn controversial? The idea that the Fertile Crescent had a nice variety of native large-seeded, protein rich, perennial grains is not new. Heck, I learned as much in my History of Agriculture class as an undergrad (10 years ago). If you believe that Europe was somehow destined to rule the world because of some innate cultural and/or genetic superiority, this book is not for you. If you want wonderful insight into the biogeography of different regions of the earth, and how these differences contributed to differences in development, check out this book. I simply could not put it down.
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18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen An interesting study, with many flaws 12. Juli 2000
Prof. Diamond has produced a fluently-written account of a popular theory -- that contemporary differences in human cultures and societies are the result solely of starting conditions with respect to geography and environment. However, the book holds numerous flaws.
There can be no doubt that Prof. Diamond is the master of a vast amount of data, biological and historical, and he marshals those data to good effect in support of his theories. However, there are many troubling omissions and contradictions contained in the book, which indicate that either there are important holes in Prof. Diamond's knowledge, or that he has been somewhat too selective in his use of data. For example, in discussing the native cereals available to various local groups for purposes of cultivation, he consistently speaks as if corn were the only grain available in Mesoamerica for domestication, and, indeed, that it was the only grain so domesticated. In fact, amaranth was also available, and domesticated. It further lacks many of the deficiencies which Diamond asserts made corn an imperfect domesticate. His failure to deal with this contradictory fact calls his more general arguments into question.
Diamond also ignores facts which are uncomfortable or unexplainable under the terms of his theory. For example, he points out that certain grasses native to the Eastern U.S. produce "dream" grains -- the example he offers is sumpweed. Yet the reason he offers that it was not domesticated is weak; it causes hay-fever, and has an objectionable smell. As Diamond should be aware, the question of whether a smell is objectionable is often culturally determined, as are many aesthetic notions.
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Question for the Ages 13. Februar 2000
Many years ago a New Guinea native asked Jared Diamond a simple question: "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?" Only slightly rephrased, Diamond devotes this book to answering the question why, from the depths of the primeval forests of Africa, mankind emerged at different rates, some achieving the heights of civilization and technology while others remained virtually in the Stone Age? And why did people on some continental landmasses prosper while people on others lagged behind, especially because some locations, like the California Coast, are mild and desirable while others, like Northern Europe are harsh and forbidding?
Diamond's thesis is that some populations got a head start over others in the development of civilization. But the head start resulted from favorable geography and natural resources, not from any innate superiority. Given the same location and advantages, any group of people over time would have reached the same result. The first beneficiary of geography happened to be the Fertile Crescent. The "cradle of civilization" not only had all five major large mammals (sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, and horses) available for domestication, but they also possessed the major wild seed groups that would become domesticated grain and cereals. Not all areas are so favorably endowed.
Once hunting and gathering gave way to food production, population density took hold, which in turn made possible civic development and technology. The head start then spread roughly along the same parallel east to Asia and west to Europe. Diamond contrasts Eurasia's wide girth and similar climates with America's and Africa's narrow waist and elongated longitude.
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Die neuesten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen Insightful book
An interesting book, which tries to explain the emergence of western civilization as the dominant culture in our times. Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 2 Monaten von John T C veröffentlicht
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good!
The book was very interesting! It tells of the history of humanity for the last 15 thousands of years, and why the world developed as it did. Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 3 Monaten von Franek veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Eines der wichtigsten Bücher zur Menschheitsgeschichte
Ich finde es extrem schade, dass das Buch (bisher) nicht in deutsch erschienen ist.

Bisher ist unsere Theorie, warum manche Gesellschaften erfolgreich waren und andere... Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 4 Monaten von Elikal veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very interesting
The book is a bold and successful attempt to explain why continents developed differently. It is overall convincing and fascinating.
Vor 5 Monaten von Francesco Papadia veröffentlicht
4.0 von 5 Sternen good book!
the book is very good. The writer tries to find an answer to a very complicated question regarding the evolution of human being. Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 11 Monaten von . veröffentlicht
1.0 von 5 Sternen Absolutely horrible book...
Jared Diamond does make a few interesting points, but his approach discredits all of them.

One example. Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 14 Monaten von Greatmongo veröffentlicht
4.0 von 5 Sternen Very interesting read, even for people who know very little
I can easily claim to know very little about human history, geography, and linguistics; and I would think that that fact would make reading books like this a dull undertaking. Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 15 Monaten von MPL veröffentlicht
4.0 von 5 Sternen Awesome idea with a bit of useless filling
Its a must read book. It has its share of filling text (at least for me) but overall its ok.
Vor 23 Monaten von Mihai Stanescu veröffentlicht
4.0 von 5 Sternen Yali's Questions Answered ?
Jared Diamond's 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning popular science book presents, in some circles, a controversial theme or even racist explanation for the differences in the development... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 30. März 2012 von J. Kimbrough
4.0 von 5 Sternen Nicht umsonst ein Klassiker
In seinem wohl berühmtesten Werk klärt Jared Diamond nichts geringeres als die Frage, wieso einige Gesellschaften (z.B. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 27. Mai 2011 von Peer Sylvester
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