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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997)

de Jared DIAMOND

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Civilizations Rise and Fall (1)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
25,162377133 (4.1)594
History. Sociology. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

"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 Go… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, ghneumann, davidjsherman, winstonhouse, mylandurray, Blickfang, tortilleras, hoody89, jmiah2412
  1. 170
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed de Jared M. Diamond (infiniteletters)
  2. 152
    1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus de Charles C. Mann (VisibleGhost, electronicmemory)
  3. 104
    A Short History of Nearly Everything de Bill Bryson (Percevan)
  4. 61
    The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are So Rich and Some So Poor de David S. Landes (Oct326)
    Oct326: La tesi centrale del saggio di Diamond è che la causa dominante dei disuguali gradi di sviluppo tra popolazioni umane sia data dalle condizioni ambientali più o meno favorevoli. Il saggio di Landes ha un argomento un po' differente, e cioè il disuguale grado di sviluppo economico e di ricchezza tra popolazioni. Ma sulle cause di queste differenze è più articolato, e mette in rilievo l'importanza dei fattori culturali. È un punto di vista piuttosto diverso, e questo rende interessante il confronto tra le due opere.… (mais)
  5. 50
    Sapiens: Uma Breve Historia da Humanidade de Yuval Noah Harari (Percevan)
    Percevan: Both books are eminently throwing light on the big lines in human history
  6. 50
    The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate de Robert D. Kaplan (TomWaitsTables)
  7. 40
    The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community de William H. McNeill (wildbill)
    wildbill: William McNeill chronicles the struggle between nomad and sedentary peoples in a book that continues the themes of Guns, Germs and Steel
  8. 40
    Maps of Time : An Introduction to Big History de David Christian (questbird)
    questbird: Big History is a multidisciplinary approach (like Diamond's) which integrates the origin of the universe, deep time, human prehistory and history.
  9. 30
    Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today de David P. Clark (infiniteletters)
  10. 20
    The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History de Molly Caldwell Crosby (John_Vaughan)
  11. 20
    The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry de Bryan Sykes (Percevan)
  12. 20
    From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life de Jacques Barzun (MusicMom41)
    MusicMom41: Guns, Germs and Steel makes a great “prelude’ to Barzun’s book From Dawn to Decadence.
  13. 10
    Children of the Ice Age: How a Global Catastrophe Allowed Humans to Evolve de Steven M. Stanley (br77rino)
    br77rino: Children of the Ice Age is an excellent anthropological discussion of the link that became homo sapiens. Guns, Germs, and Steel covers the more recent territory of racial evolution within homo sapiens.
  14. 43
    The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined de Steven Pinker (Percevan)
    Percevan: Both books are eminently throwing light on the big lines in human history
  15. 10
    Wild: An Elemental Journey de Jay Griffiths (hohlwelt)
    hohlwelt: Complements very well with what Jared Diamond misses and vice versa.
  16. 10
    The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything de Adrian Bejan (br77rino)
  17. 10
    The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World de David W. Anthony (tcg17321)
  18. 11
    Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors de Nicholas Wade (IslandDave)
  19. 00
    Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect de Paul R. Ehrlich (bookcrushblog)
  20. 00
    A Short History of Progress de Ronald Wright (thebookpile)

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Overview:
Different regions have different environments and ecosystems. Those differences caused differences in the development of nations. Differences which have created and exacerbated disparities between the nations. Depending on the environment and ecosystem, peoples were able to form complex societies, or were limited in their social organization. What different environments and ecosystems do is enable different qualities and quantities of food production and resource utilization. Culminating in some peoples becoming conquerors, and others unable to resist the conquests. Even when the different societies are at a seeming deadlock, germs enable a set of people to overcome the other. Germs developed by close proximity with animals, a major factor within food production. It is not the race, biological, or intelligence differences among humans that determined the fate of societies. It was environmental endowment differences.

Although the premise of the book is questioning the proximate causes is how peoples have obtained their superiority. The concern is the ultimate causes of development. An ultimate cause is food production, and the factors that facilitated relatively easier production. Even the way the continents are oriented shaped human societies. Continents that have more longitudinal geography, make it easier for humans to move because of many similarities such as temperate and biomes, which enables similar food production. Continents that have more latitude are harder to move within, because environments and ecology vary.

Agriculture provides surplus food, which then facilitated support of specialized skills that do not produce food. Hunter-gatherer societies did not have surplus food available for non-food producers. Intensive food production enabled population density, which facilitated economic, social, and political organization. Even enabled inventions, because inventors tend to experiment with ideas for a long time without public demand. Alternatively, societies could also learn and adopt the inventions of others.

Initial farmers had harsher lives than hunter-gatherers. Some societies developed agriculture, and then abandoned it. Agriculture needed to complete with hunter-gather food production. What agriculture did is incentivize development of technologies, to make the work easier. Not all societies chose to keep agriculture when it was developed.

There is a claim that agriculture also incentivized centralized bureaucracies, but history shows that the bureaucracies followed after a considerable lag. A feature of bureaucracies is writing. Writing enabled quick dissemination of more information. Providing more in writing than could be transmitted by mouth. Writing gives successors access to a huge body of knowledge, and experiences. Providing more guidance on diverse human behavior.

Animals can be used as beasts of burden that substituted for human energy and physical limitations. But animals also provided sustenance, and resources to make clothes out of. Animals were not used just food production, they were also used for transportation, and war. Humans living near animals developed many diseases due to the germs that animals carried. Many suffered, but those who survived developed immunity to the germs. Exposing people to the germs who had no immunity, created a lot of suffering. Many human conflicts were resolved not by superior strength, but those who had deadlier germs. Many regions of the Americas were depopulated because of germs from Europeans, making American territory easily accessible to conquerors.

Plant and animal domestication required the plants and animals to be able to become domesticable. Having qualities that enables humans to utilize them more readily. Plants and animals that had problematic features, were not domesticated. Most species of plants and animals that are domesticable, have already been domesticated by ancestors. Domesticated animals behave differently then their wild ancestors. Domesticated animals are bred for human purposes. Some domesticated animals lost certain traits, skills, and abilities because they were not needed in human societies.

Caveats?
The book can be difficult to read. Some parts would be best left to an appendix. Going from the seemingly major factors, to how they became influential is an appropriate method, but that might still leave out many other factors and contributing events to those factors and the outcomes. Even within the complex arguments, the conclusions might not be appropriate as they can contradict other pieces of information.

There is an emphasis on how easy it was for conquerors to conquer the conquered. Although there is slight recognition that some events between different peoples were a protracted struggle, the emphasis is on events of easy conquests, which is problematic. There were many times in which the to be conquered, had won struggles against the would be conquerors, but made choices that then enabled their own demise. ( )
  Eugene_Kernes | Jun 4, 2024 |
Interesting framework

This seems to me like am interesting framework from which to view history however I don't see how this information helps in looking at current times or the future. If environment and geography are ultimate causes how can those factors be changed? Does this mean that in a few thousand years poorer countries will become less poor as they become more acclimated to the factors rich countries have longer exposure too? Overall I found the book pretty dry and was put off by the numerous times the author accused competing theories as simply racist. ( )
  J3R3 | Apr 19, 2024 |
Top 10 books I read. Definitely in the list of books to carry to a desert island. ( )
  PedroCurtoSimoes | Apr 1, 2024 |
A compelling argument for interpretation of societies in relation to environmental change. ( )
  sfj2 | Mar 29, 2024 |
Interesting, but way too drawn out and dry. The idea of "Why did X develop in one part of the world but not another?" is neat, but he has a tendency to go off-topic and get into too much unrelated detail. Also, there is a strong bias towards New Guinea. ( )
  kylecarroll | Mar 7, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 375 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
In ''Guns, Germs, and Steel,'' an ambitious, highly important book, Jared Diamond asks: How did Pizarro come to be at Cajamarca capturing Atahualpa, instead of Atahualpa in Madrid capturing King Charles I? Why, indeed, did Europeans (and especially western Europeans) and Asians always triumph in their historical conquests of other populations? Why weren't Native Americans, Africans and aboriginal Australians instead the ones who enslaved or exterminated the Europeans?
adicionado por jlelliott | editarThe New York Times, James Shreeve (Jun 15, 1997)
 
Jared Diamond has written 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 analysing some of the basic workings of cultural process. . . It is willing to simplify and to generalize; and it does reach conclusions, about ultimate as well as proximate causes, that carry great conviction, and that have rarely, perhaps never, been stated so coherently or effectively before. For that reason, and with few reservations, this book may be welcomed as one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years.
adicionado por jlelliott | editarNature, Colin Renfrew (Mar 27, 1997)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (49 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
DIAMOND, Jaredautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Cavalli-Sforza, Francescoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
CAVALLI-SFORZA, Luigi Lautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Chueca, FabiánTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Civalleri, LuigiTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Johansson, IngerTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mie HidleTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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History. Sociology. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

"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 Go

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