October 28th 2009
Guns Germs, and Steel. The fates of human society. Jared Diamond. 1997. ISBN 139780393317558. When first published this book set new ideas in motion as to why over time some civilizations rise and flourish, while others do not. His insights into the ease of trade and technology movement allowed with the east west alignment of Eurasia vs the NS alignment of North America based on geographic and climatic zones is very useful. His long cycle analysis of China, New Guinea, Polynesia and other sociaties gave us ideas about species extinction, warfare, and technology acceptance as well as showing how groups benefits from smallness and friendly competition ( unity of China vs fragmentation of Europe) . The base work still stands to help create a “science” of history and it has made it much more relevant to the average reader. The authors reputation has suffered over the years from what appears to be some inability to validate some of his references, especially in New Guinea. His writing style is pedantic and repetitive, with an inability to “stay on course” to finish an idea with an idea before veering off to a pet thesis. If you are a history buff this book warrants a serious read and is worth it.
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