Book Review – Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

Rating:

Originally post on Goodreads:

Ever wonder why it was that the Europeans became the dominant colonizing force in the last millennium? Some would say it was due to genetic superiority, but actual science and history tell a different story. Guns, Germs, and Steel examines the ecological, geographic, and anthropological reasons why one subset of humanity got the edge over many others.

Jared Diamond, the author of this book, is a geographer, anthropologist, and historian. His multi-faceted expertise offers an incredible big-picture perspective on the clash of civilizations over the last 13,000 years or so. Diamond has also had first-hand experience interacting with less-developed human populations, particularly with the inhabitants of New Guinea. What he’s realized is that members of these societies that first-worlders may consider “primitive” are actually just as intelligent as any. So in this book, Diamond asks why it is that Native Americans, Western & Sub-Saharan Africans, or Aboriginal Australians never matured into global, colonizing superpowers.

At times exhaustingly detailed, Guns, Germs, and Steel takes readers from pre-historic hunter-gatherer bands to the gradual inception of nations and states. Diamond explores everything from the existence of domesticable crops and animals on each continent to the ease of cultural, linguistic, and technological diffusion between separate populations. Ultimately, what readers leave with is a comprehensive look at how various, seemingly trivial factors led to Europe coming out on top in terms of colonial dominance. His conclusion is a great rebuttal to racist notions of the alleged genetic superiority of Europeans.

This book is highly recommended for anyone curious as to how Western civilization and “Eurocentrism” became the prevailing worldview among modern nations.

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