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Guns, Germs, and Steel

The Fates of Human Societies

Jared Diamond (Author, UCLA)

Overview | Contents | Formats
 

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."—Bill Gates

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • April 1999
  • ISBN 978-0-393-31755-8
  • 6.2 × 9.3 in / 496 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverGuns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

    Hardcover

Awards

Endorsements & Reviews

“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, New York Review of Books

“An ambitious, highly important book.” — James Shreeve, New York Times Book Review

“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, Nature

“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.” — The New Yorker

“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, Washington Times

“[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, Los Angeles Times

“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, The New Leader

“Fascinating and extremely important... [A] synopsis doesn't do credit to the immense subtlety of this book.” — David Brown, Washington Post Book World

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