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

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

In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond reviews parts of history in order to theorize how different cultures became civilization's haves and how others became its have-nots. Diamond is a biologist, and here he seeks to explain why Eurasians--rather than Native Americans, Africans, and Native Australians--became successful conquerors. Diamond argues that rather than race and culture, factors such as food production and animal domestication allowed Eurasians to economically dominate the world.

Jared Diamond feels that this is an important subject to explore because its study can alleviate ideas such as racism and ethnocentrism. He puts forth the argument that Eurasian people had an ecological advantage over others in different climates instead of having innate qualities or intellect that made them superior to others. This explanation shows geographic reasoning as to why Eurasian peoples were able to leave the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and maintain larger governments sooner than other folks. The author does not claim that the nation-state way of life is better than the life that hunter-gatherers lived, rather it merely shows why the latter lifestyle put those people at a disadvantage in terms of disease and illness.

Jared Diamond wrote this book in attempt to answer a casual question posed by his friend, Yali, a New Guinean politician: why were the white people able to obtain so much more than others? Throughout the entire book Diamond seeks to find an accurate explanation for Yali's question. Written for nonscientists, this book lays out reasons why Native Americans, Africans, and Native Australians were those colonized instead of the peoples of Eurasia.