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eBook: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies EXPIRED

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Edited April 12, 2019 at 02:05 PM by
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond is on sale at Amazon for $2.99.

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs...QPX5V6EYNX

"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.
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43 Comments

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#16
Way worthier than 3 bucks
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#17
Great book, had nothing to do with guns germs or steel though. I suppose a title of "Crops, animals and trade" probably wouldn't have sold as well. It was a great read but never put all your eggs in one basket, read it, think about it, agree or disagree... Think for yourself.
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#18
Quote from DiegoZV
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Whats the current consensus on this book? It seemed to be a very highly regarded work while I was in school 10 years ago but recently I hear it being criticized a lot in the academic community.
It isn't well liked by the history community. Some of his ideas are quite the stretch.

It is an interesting read, but take it with a grain of salt.

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#19
Quote from valleypoboy
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Great book, had nothing to do with guns germs or steel though. I suppose a title of "Crops, animals and trade" probably wouldn't have sold as well. It was a great read but never put all your eggs in one basket, read it, think about it, agree or disagree... Think for yourself.
I read the entire book years ago, and it was indeed about guns, germs, and steel. It discussed other things, sure, but access to materials and new crops east and west and immunity to pathogens from livestock are all part of a very clear explanation of histories in different parts of the world. I highly recommend!
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#20
Quote from oldjb
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This is a huge book. I never actually finished it, but was very impressed by what I did read. I am thinking about getting the kindle version just to make it easier to get back into it.
even the file size of the Kindle edition is rather huge:
"File Size: 113791 KB"
and that is without this:
"PLEASE NOTE: Some images from the print edition are not available in the Kindle edition due to rights issues"
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#21
Great book on how the world today came to be.
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#22
Hmm I remember this book... This is one of those books Michael recommended from one of the Vsauce videos.
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#23
I tried reading this recently and stopped about a quarter of the way through - didn't care for Diamond's writing style.
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#24
They did a documentary series for the book that was very good. I recommend The History of Warfare alongside this as well. That's actually an easier and more interesting read as well.
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#25
Quote from DiegoZV
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Whats the current consensus on this book? It seemed to be a very highly regarded work while I was in school 10 years ago but recently I hear it being criticized a lot in the academic community.
Because the academic community is highly politicized and this book largely contradicts the "white people ruined the world" narrative that is pushed in academia.
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#26
Pseudoscience at best.
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#27
Why Nations Fail essentially refutes this book. This book is out of date.
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#28
Quote from hungryrapanui
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Why Nations Fail essentially refutes this book. This book is out of date.
How does it refute it?
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#29
Why Nations Fail's model of extractive vs. inclusive political/economic institutions as the strongest correlation to sustained economic growth and political liberalization is a much much more complete model than what's proposed in Guns, Germs and Steel where the supported examples are cherry-picked. The most interesting part is WNF's model applies to modern countries as well as ancient civilizations, whereas GG&S's model is mostly trying to explain the European rise of the past 500 years. One meta-takeaway from these socio-economic-anthropological books like these is civilizations and countries never rose because of any type of individualistic exceptionalism. The contingent course of history, i.e. randomness, is the overwhelming factor.
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#30
The book's primary argument is that some basically random geographic and biological factors (directional orientation of the continents, presence of nutritious cereal plants, presence of animals that could be domesticated) gave the peoples of Eurasia certain material and immunological advantages (related animal domestication) over people living in the Americas, Australia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Secondarily, Diamond argues that these advantages accrued into the late Medieval/early Modern era and that they, ultimately, led to the decimation of native peoples, specifically in the Americas. I happen to largely agree with him on this point. However, even if you don't, it doesn't really detract from the excellence main points regarding early human agriculture and their interaction with animals.

It's been a long time since I've read the book, I think it's fair to say, though, that it does drag on a bit. If I recall correctly, the main thrust of the book was made within the first hundred pages or so, followed by region by region explanation of how these forces played out historically.
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