Guns, Germs and Steel

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Jared Diamond Posted on my blog (http://aboutthestory.wordpress.com/)Title: Guns, Germs, and SteelAuthor: Jared Diamond Hours (audiobook): ~5 abridged copy Summary: For anyone who has ever wondered why the heck the European and Asian civilizations were able to make ships and conquer other civilizations, this book tries to figure that out. A lot of the problems of today’s world comes from the inequities of the civilizations of the past, and at first blush it can be confusing to students of history why the Spanish made ships and guns before the people of South America. Diamond explains that a lot of the development of history’s civilizations depended on the domestic-able plants and animals in the area and the fact that Europe and Asia have a major axis that goes East to West where as Africa and the Americas are oriented North to South. This actually makes a big difference in terms of how easily crops can be adapted from neighbors. The major geographic barriers also play a role in how easily ideas and inventions can get spread between cultures. All of this paints a fairly convincing story of why people in one area progressed so much faster than others, giving us the world we currently have.As stated above, I only listened to the abridged audiobook of this book because that is what I had available, but I found the audiobook still very enlightening, unlike most abridged books that I’ve encountered. The full paper book is quite long, and so if you want an idea of the argument but not all the gory details, I do recommend the abridged version. In any case, I think this book makes a very important argument because it presents evidence that it wasn’t something special about the genes of the people who became the conquerors, it was simply the luck of the land that they happened to inherit.More reviews at http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/