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

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 1999-04-17
  • Publisher: W W NORTON
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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.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Yali's Question: The regionally differing courses of historyp. 13
Up to the Starting Line: What happened on all the continents before 11,000 B.C.?p. 35
A Natural Experiment of History: How geography molded societies on Polynesian islandsp. 53
Collision at Cajamarca: Why the Inca emperor Atahuallpa did not capture King Charles I of Spainp. 67
Farmer Power: The roots of guns, germs, and steelp. 85
History's Haves and Have-Nots: Geographic differences in the onset of food productionp. 93
To Farm or Not to Farm: Causes of the spread of food productionp. 104
How to Make an Almond: The unconscious development of ancient cropsp. 114
Apples or Indians: Why did peoples of some regions fail to domesticate plants?p. 131
Zebras, Unhappy Marriages, and the Anna Karenina Principle: Why were most big wild mammal species never domesticated?p. 157
Spacious Skies and Tilted Axes: Why did food production spread at different rates on different continents?p. 176
Lethal Gift of Livestock: The evolution of germsp. 195
Blueprints and Borrowed Letters: The evolution of writingp. 215
Necessity's Mother: The evolution of technologyp. 239
From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy: The evolution of government and religionp. 265
Yali's People: The histories of Australia and New Guineap. 295
How China became Chinese: The history of East Asiap. 322
Speedboat to Polynesia: The history of the Austronesian expansionp. 334
Hemispheres Colliding: The histories of Eurasia and the Americas comparedp. 354
How Africa became Black: The history of Africap. 376
Epilogue: The Future of Human History as a Sciencep. 403
Acknowledgmentsp. 427
Further Readingsp. 429
Creditsp. 459
Indexp. 461
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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