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.
--This text refers to an alternate Taschenbuch edition.
"Artful, informative, and delightful... There is nothing like a radically new angle of vision for bringing out unsuspected dimensions of a subject, and that is what Jared Diamond has done." -- William H. McNeil "An ambitious, highly important book." -- James Shreeve "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 analyzing some of the basic workings of culture process... One of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years." -- Colin Renfrew "This is a brilliantly written, passionate, whirlwind tour though 13,000 years of history on all the continents-a short history of everything about everybody... By at last providing a convincing explanation for the differing developments of human societies on different occasions, the book demolishes the grounds for racist theories of history... After reading the first two pages, you won't be able to put it down." -- Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University "The scope and the explanatory power of this book are astounding." "No scientist brings more experience from the laboratory and field, none thinks more deeply about social issues or addresses them with greater clarity, than Jared Diamond as illustrated by Guns, Germs, and Steel. In this remarkably readable book he shows how history and biology can enrich one another to produce a deeper understanding of the human condition." -- Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University "Serious, groundbreaking biological studies of human history only seem to come along once every generation or so... Now [Guns, Germs, and Steel] must be added to their select number... Diamond meshes technological mastery with historical sweep, anecdotal delight with broad conceptual vision, and command of sources with creative leaps. No finer work of its kind has been published this year, or for many past." -- Martin Sieff "[Diamond] is broadly erudite, writes in a style that pleasantly expresses scientific concepts in vernacular American English, and deals almost exclusively in questions that should interest everyone concerned about how humanity has developed... [He] has done us all a great favor by supplying a rock-solid alternative to the racist answer... A wonderfully interesting book." -- Alfred W. Crosby "An epochal work. Diamond has written a summary of human history that can be accounted, for the time being, as Darwinian in its authority." -- Thomas M. Disch "Fascinating and extremely important... [A] synopsis doesn't do credit to the immense subtlety of this book." -- David Brown
--This text refers to the Gebundene Ausgabe edition.