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Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Ditulis oleh Jared Diamond

Diceritakan oleh Grover Gardner


Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Ditulis oleh Jared Diamond

Diceritakan oleh Grover Gardner

peringkat:
4/5 (403 peringkat)
Panjangnya:
5 hours
Dirilis:
Jul 11, 2001
ISBN:
9781598873481
Format:
Buku Audio

Catatan Editor

Eloquent history…

This elegant and eloquent history of humanity examines not just how human society developed, but why it developed differently in different cultures. A must–read for the history buff and the layperson alike.

Deskripsi

In this groundbreaking work, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. It is a story that spans 13,000 years of human history, beginning when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Dirilis:
Jul 11, 2001
ISBN:
9781598873481
Format:
Buku Audio


Tentang penulis

JARED DIAMOND has been the national baseball writer for the Wall Street Journal since 2017. Prior to that, he spent a season as the Journal’s Yankees beat writer and three seasons as their Mets beat writer. In his current role, he leads the newspaper’s baseball coverage. This is his first book.  


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  • (3/5)
    Dense, academic, slow and possessing an onslaught of illustrative examples. Not the most entertaining read, and I probably retained very little. Worthy of a Pulitzer? Absolutely.
  • (5/5)
    Jarod Diamond examines the question of why are some societies more successful than others. Ultimately, why was it the Europeans who dominated exploration and conquest of the world? Why not China or Africa? Diamond explores the idea of "accidental conquest" based on geographic luck. This informational text is best suited for high school students because of the complexity of ideas. Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize (General Nonfiction) in 1998 for this book and in 1999 and 2004, it was placed on the ALA Outstanding Books for the College Bound list.
  • (4/5)
    Lots of great ideas. I've heard it criticised for not being rigorous enough, and I thought it was too wordy full stop but the author acknowledges all of this and the big picture I don't know how you would get the picture without all the words.
  • (3/5)
    Diamond takes an evolutionary approach to the advancement of conquering cultures through the rapid advancement of crop cultivation, domestic animals, and survival of the fittest through disease. Unfortunately, it is in desperate need of an editor. Hundreds of pages should have been cut or redesigned. The last three chapters alone could have been cut to just a few pages. When Guns was first published it was considered quite revolutionary; however, current scholarship has challenged it with a bite.
  • (4/5)
    It's easily observed that many native peoples did not develop technology at the same rate as the white Europeans who eventually conquered them. Since the times when whites first encountered these races, they believed that their lack of technology meant they were less intelligent leading to a generallized belief of Caucasions as a superior race.In this book, Jared Diamond disabuses this notion. He cites a variety of anthropological arguments for the varied rates of technoligical development, including the number of plant and animal species available in an area for humans to domesticate, the ease of spread of new technologies and newly domesticates species, and impassable landforms which left cultures isolated. Naturally, this also affected disease resistance.I have read very little anthropology, so I found this fascinating. I have no way of judging whether this is new information, or a compilation of arguments familiar to anthropologists, but I learned quite a bit. Since it is twenty years old, I noticed a few scientific inaccuracies (dogs being domesticated in more than one area is the one that stood out to me) and I'm sure that anthropology has similarly moved forward.Nevertheless, I found it worthwhile and intriguing.
  • (3/5)
    ABRIDGED VERSION

    I picked this up to follow along with the book, but sadly a significant number of chapters at the end of the book are missing.

    The narration is clear and well delivered, but for the full book I would suggest looking elsewhere.
  • (4/5)
    Mostly, a recitation of anthropological history, with an occasional insight
  • (3/5)
    This is a well thought out book with seemingly solid backed science. It’s just a very dry and drawn out way to learn how humans of all races and backgrounds share the same spectrum of intelligence. The only difference is how the geography of certain continents fostered human developments in agricultural, diseases, and industry faster than others. I’d recommend reading a summary of the book instead.
  • (5/5)
    Phenomenal.
    Definitely a dry book but not hard to get into it.
    It points out incredible ideas and observations about humans that should be much more mainstream.
    This book answers why Europeans and Asians had so much before globalization began a few centuries ago and why Native Americans and Africans were perceived to be so far behind even when evidence shows no difference in human intelligence or capability.
  • (2/5)
    The book is really good, but the audiobook had so many missing chapters.
  • (5/5)
    a frame of thought I’m not used to, impressive narrative!
  • (4/5)
    I started reading this book sometime last year and after a pretty fast start, it took me ~6 months to finish the last three chapters. The concepts are really interesting, but after a while Diamond was just too repetitive for me. In it, Diamond tries to answer the question of a New Guinean who wants to know why Diamond's people are the 'haves' and why his people are the 'have-nots'. While there is certainly a lot more explored in its 425 pages (not counting the bibliography or index), the main concepts that resonated with me are how the east-west axis of Eurasia was more conducive to the spread of people and ideas than the north-south axes of the Americas and Africa and secondly how Eurasia started out with a more beneficial food and animal 'package' than did either Africa or the Americas. I can understand why it won the Pulitzer.
  • (5/5)
    Very informative and insightful. Needs a lot of focus to absorb the info!
  • (3/5)
    This is a thought-provoking, deeply interesting, controversial book investigating the reasons behind the bafflingly different rate of development of human societies in different parts of the world.
  • (4/5)
    Very good book. Also quite long. It takes a while in the beginning to take off but after the long chapter of domestication of animals it gets more interesting.
    All in all great book.
  • (3/5)
    Wonderful ideas and some compelling arguments about how human history has unfolded as it has, but terribly dry prose and very repetitive. Feels like it was both trying to be a formal academic paper and a popular history/science book, and the middle ground is a bit awkward.
  • (5/5)
    Nice book, with a straight forward argument. Its central thesis has been adopted into other books and papers I've read, but it was nice to get to the original. It was refreshing to find such an accessible piece of historical anthropology.
  • (5/5)
    This book constantly blew my mind. So many facts and theories that explained so much about why the world is the way it is today. I got a little bored in the language chapter, but other than that I was riveted the entire time.
  • (5/5)
    Very well written, interesting, and easy to understand, 100% recommend!
  • (5/5)
    Very interesting topic and a great work to open your eyes to the potential factors in human evolution.
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Interesting but not 100% convincing. I want to know more about technological regression!

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    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.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Ik kan perfect begrijpen waarom dit boek zoveel succes heeft gehad: het is bijzonder helder geschreven. Diamond gaat heel methodisch te werk, neemt zijn lezer overal bij de hand, licht voortdurend zijn aanpak toe en legt zijn bevindingen ook mooi neer. En uiteraard is er heel veel te zeggen voor een benadering van de geschiedenis die vooral inzoomt op milieu-aspecten: geografie, klimaat en biologie hebben een ongelofelijke impact gehad op de ontwikkeling van het leven en dus zeker ook op de menselijke geschiedenis. Terecht zet de evolutionaire bioloog Diamond dit in de verf. Zijn conclusies houden steek, maar … Hij begaat de fout om zijn benadering ietsje teveel als de enig mogelijke, of toch de enig echt relevante benadering voor te stellen. En dan gaat het uiteraard over zijn toch wel flagrant van tafel schuiven van culturele factoren. Ok, in zijn nawoord besteedt hij heel kort aandacht aan het belang van culturele factoren, maar hij maakt zich er van af door te zeggen dat daar weinig met zekerheid over te zeggen is. Iets te goedkoop, Jared. Desalniettemin vind ik dit toch een heel waardevol werk!
  • (4/5)
    Diamond explains why some groups of humans have done well based on local circumstances: material resources, pathogens, human migratory patterns, that sort of thing. It's such a useful and non-racist theory that it holds immediate appeal. I've no idea how well it's withstood research over the past twenty years, but I'll assume that my understanding of it is too simplistic to be quite true.

    Library copy.
  • (4/5)
    A very fascinating look at just about everything that contributed to humans going from neanderthals to modern man. It explores domestication (the hows and whys of what ended up domesticated versus what's still wild [if not extinct]), types of governing (or lack thereof), how and why some societies don't develop certain technologies (including writing and animal husbandry), and how and why some societies have simply refused to "modernize."
  • (4/5)

    Dr. Diamond. Now there’s a name begging to be assigned a character in a superhero movie. Jared Diamond might agree.

    Guns, Germs, and Steel derives from a thesis Dr. Diamond has about how some societies were able to accumulate so much “cargo” compared to other peoples. He attempts to dissuade readers from ideas that individual or cultural superiority must be the basis of explanation.

    This is a good topic but my interest in his argument fell off in proportion to the number of pages read. Not an obstacle, though. Dr. Diamond so often presented fun ideas and information that a thematic excuse to continue on wasn’t needed.

    As one example of what I found fun: why zebras did not come to serve as the African horse.“Zebras have the unpleasant habit of biting a person and not letting go. They thereby injure even more American zookeepers each year than do tigers! Zebras are also virtually impossible to lasso with a rope—even for cowboys who win rodeo championships by lassoing horses—because of their unfailing ability to watch the rope noose fly toward them and then to duck their head out of the way.”

    Pretty damn good, zebras. Born to be wild!

    ALTHOUGH, I must point out, in the movie Hatari a zebra is lassoed by the character played by John Wayne. Now, no shame being lassoed by the Duke, of course. And it’s possible the movie exercised some sleight of hand to fool us. Maybe it was a zebra-striped horse (it really does look like a zebra though). Or maybe, just maybe, the “unfailing” zebras sometimes fail when chased a long distance by a bunch of people in a truck, a technique not available to ancient Africans. Is Dr. Diamond still interested? He should discuss this.

    One annoyance was the book’s misleading title, which could better have been Germs! Germs! Germs! And Other Stuff. As a kid I didn’t like germs but I liked guns (the plastic toys) and I liked steel. The boy in me wanted to read about the stuff I’d liked. But those grim germs run rampant here, laying waste to the guns and the steel and their metaphorical counterparts.

    Nor does it help that at times Dr. Diamond will talk so much about a single subject that the reader is apt to expire before finishing. His aim is to convince and if entertainment suffers from the effort, so be it.

    The merit of the book is that the author gives well-articulated reasons in the effort to convince and he entertains often enough. Even when he fails and writes something dull or irritating, it’s easy to be forgiving because there will be something good coming up again. For example: “With the rise of chiefdoms around 7,500 years ago, people had to learn, for the first time in history, how to encounter strangers regularly without attempting to kill them.”

    Let us bow to the chiefdoms! Without them, how could road trips be the attraction they are today?

  • (4/5)
    This book was highly recommended to me by a former political science professor of mine about a year ago. I picked it up last week, and though reading it appears to be an intimidating endeavor it turned out to be quite interesting and manageable to get through. This Pulitzer Prize winner attempts to cover massive ground in under 500 pages, and while it would seem that small amount of space would sell short the fates of human societies, Diamond does a stellar job of incorporating all the aspects required of this topic into a relatable masterpiece.Part of what makes Guns, Germs, and Steel so effortless to read is its repetitiveness, which also tends to be one of its major critiques. I think that the breadth of this book made repetition not just acceptable, but useful. The reader could easily lose track of what was being discussed if the focus was not continuously being brought back to the main ideas Diamond pursued. The big question this book tries to answer is why some societies advanced and prospered while numerous others did not. In short, it is a brief history of how human societies proceeded to their present state.Diamond’s hypothesis is that there are many different reasons for how societies came to be the way they are today, but that racial differences is not among them. The four factors that he claims contributed most to the success or failure of societies are the differences in wild plant and animal life on the continents, the orientation of the continents’ major axis, the rate of diffusion between continents, and the total area and population size of each of the continents. For instance, Eurasia had 13 of the 14 domesticatable animal species in the world, has a major axis orientation of west-east rather than north-south, was least impeded by geographic barriers to spread information, and has the largest land mass and population size of any of the continents. This book documents how each of these factors affected the populations of each continent in the development of human societies.One of the major sections of Guns, Germs, and Steel focuses on food production and dissemination, which I found particularly interesting. Diamond explains that having domesticatable animal and plant species is essential to progress a human society. The comfort of our current culture is a result of our ancestors transitioning from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to sedentary farmers. Stockpiling food, branching into handicrafts, creating a written language, and building up immunities to germs transmitted by livestock would never have been possible if humans had not begun to cultivate the land. As this book jaunts on, the layers from which society is constructed are clearly presented and reiterated, so that by the end you will have no trouble explaining why the hundreds of thousands of Aztecs were conquered by the few hundred Spaniards, or why the Australians never independently developed agriculture. As Diamond notes and demonstrates, history is indeed like an onion.While an impressive amount of information is covered in this work, I got the sense that a lot was being left unsaid. Not until the epilogue does Diamond begin to point out historical instances that are more than just anomalies in his theory. For example, China had advantages in every area Diamond suggests is important to advancing society, and yet it was Europe, not China, that colonized the Americas. He asserts this to China being so unified that the decision of a single person could impede the progress of the entire nation. (Interestingly, this is what led to China abandoning everything from mechanical clocks to the entire school system at one point!) Europe, on the other hand, had many competing rulers and opinions which helped it advance ahead of China. This makes sense, but seems to be in conflict with Diamond’s hypothesis, which is that geography and resources are what gave cultures advantages, not the humans within the cultures. This is not a racist explanation, as Diamond was trying to avoid, since there has probably been someone in every society who thought it would be best to do away with seafaring ships at one time or another. It just happened that that person was in a position of power in China at an unfortunate time.Diamond does a fantastic job of working through the history of human societies on every continent and explaining why they are the way they are today. He employs the knowledge of many disciplines, including linguistics, geography, biology and agronomy, to name a few. Though the scientific method may not have been properly used here, as Diamond presents only information that supports his hypothesis, the premise and conclusion are logical and well presented. Guns, Germs, and Steel is a definite asset to anyone’s bookshelf.
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This is a weighty book, ya'll. Jared Diamond's book had been on my list for ages because once upon a time it had been on one of my recommended reading lists for an undergraduate Anthropology class (I majored in that field). I didn't have the time to read it then (it is 425 pages after all) but the topic still intrigued me. Much like the book above I was interested in the subject matter and found no fault with the writing style (other than it being more like a textbook than casual, recreational reading) but it was so dense that I didn't always feel compelled to pick it up in a spare moment. (I also kept falling asleep for some reason.) Progress: I made it to page 290 before I had to concede defeat (and ship it to the next person waiting to read it).

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Widely read and popular, Guns, germs and steel. The fates of human societies has a simple and compelling thesis: Geography lies at the basis of the success of civilizations. The long horizontal axis spanning the Eurasian continent resulted in successful transmission of cultural and agricultural discoveries, while the vertical axes of the American and African continents were less conducive to such promotion. Thus, the civilizations on the Eurasian continent were ultimately more successful than civilizations of other continents.Guns, germs and steel. The fates of human societies includes descriptions of all continents and major civilizations, with some more prominence for places the author knows better from previous work. The fact that the book first appeared in 1997, 1999 does not seem to be of major impact. Although in the meantime significant progress has been made in describing human ancestry, new findings do not seem to undermine or challenge Diamond's thesis on main points.Guns, germs and steel. The fates of human societies does take a rather reductionist stance, and the main arguments in the conquest of Latin America seem to be a bit forced, downplaying simple luck. Psychological traits of the conquerers, such as agression, deceit and drive to conquer are not juxtaposed to the characteristics of other peoples in the world.Still, Guns, germs and steel. The fates of human societies remains a very interesting book to read.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)
    A lot of time spent dwelling in more tedious areas in the beginning, but the chapters toward the end were fascinating.