Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: Guns, Germs, And Steel, by Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human SocietiesGuns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Guns, Germs, And Steel, by Jared Diamond
★★★ and 1/2

Description: Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? In this groundbreaking book, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. Here, at last, is a world history's broadest patterns. Here, at last, is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life.
In A Sentence: A fascinating study with a lot of information crammed in

My Thoughts: I've been meaning to read this for years, ever since my anthropology professor mentioned it. I don't usually read non-fiction novels, though; despite the interesting subjects, I get bored with the tedious amounts of information and facts. Hence why this book took me a whole month to read.
This was a really interesting book, however. I love history, particularly ancient history. I also love archaeology and reading about the different societies and culture this world has. This book had it all: history, archaeology, anthropology, and biological anthropology. Jared Diamond made a valid argument regarding why some societies were able to conquer others. Basically, each society had to work with the resources that were available to them; if the plants and animals were easy to domesticate, and the people could benefit from domesticating them, then more often than not events led to domesticated local plants and animals. Domestication led to sedentary lifestyles, which in turn led to massive food production, diseases, and better opportunities for technological advancement. Geography, climate, and how isolated a society was also affected how domesticated plants and animals and technology would spread to other societies. I summed up the book in a few sentences here, but the science and research that led to this conclusion was really interesting. Plus, Jared Diamond doesn't spend a whole lot of time discussing the Europeans and how powerful they were. He instead discusses everyone, including other societies you hardly ever hear about, making this book very well rounded and very interesting.
There was a whole lot of information in the book however. Jared Diamond had to scrunch in about 13,000 years of world history into one book, as well as a lot of scientific and archaeological information. It was all great information, but it made for a very dense read. No wonder it took me so long!
Overall: If you love non-fiction, particularly historical nonfiction, this is a good book for you. If you're studying history in some type of college course, I would recommend this book as a complementary read. It's certainly worth a look, but prepare yourself for a whole lot of info. Jared Diamond does a great job making the facts reader-friendly, but there's still much to sift through. You have been warned.

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