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In Eurasia, parts of the Americas, and Africa, farming became the prevailing mode of existence when indigenous wild plants and animals were domesticated by prehistoric planters and herders.As Jared Diamond vividly reveals, the very people who gained a head start in producing food would collide with preliterate cultures, shaping the modern world through conquest, displacement, and genocide.When cultural or genetic differences have favored Eurasians (for example, written language or the development among Eurasians of resistance to endemic diseases), he asserts that these advantages occurred because of the influence of geography on societies and cultures (for example, by facilitating commerce and trade between different cultures) and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes. In 20, the author published new English-language editions that included information collected since the previous editions.The new information did not change any of the original edition’s conclusions.“Fascinating….Diamond attempts in this book to draw a correlation between the plants available to natural population of humans and the likelihood of that population developing an agricultural civilization. First, increasing numbers of people today are, quite under- standably, interested in other societies besides those of western Eurasia.Observing the plant life either natively available to a region or available by east-west transfer (as those plants would be mostly likely to succeed in the transplanted area), Diamond assessed the energy profit in calories of farming those plants versus hunting and gathering and then tried to link that to which strategy succeeded in that area. Jared Diamond takes us on an exhilarating world tour of history that makes us rethink all our ideas about ourselves and other peoples and our places in the overall scheme of things." —Christopher Ehret, Professor of African History, UCLA "Jared Diamond masterfully draws together recent discoveries in fields of inquiry as diverse as archaeology and epidemiology, as he illuminates how and why the human societies of different continents followed widely divergent pathways of development over the past 13,000 years." —Bruce D. After all, those "other" societies encompass most of the world's popula- tion and the vast majority of the world's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic 1O • P R E F A C E groups.Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas.
Most of this work deals with non-Europeans, but Diamond’s thesis sheds light on why Western civilization became hegemonic: “History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples’ environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.” Those who domesticated plants and animals early got a head start on developing writing, government, technology, weapons of war, and immunity to deadly germs.32 illustrations Explaining what William Mc Neill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history.In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist’s answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance.Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (also titled Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years) is a 1997 transdisciplinary non-fiction book by Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).In 1998, it won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction and the Aventis Prize for Best Science Book.
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. Diamond makes a convincing case for geographic determinism: the idea that the course of human history is heavily dependent on the advantages and disadvantages of the various areas that people have inhabited. 1 7 6 P A R T T H R E E F R O M F O O D T O G U N S , GERMS, A N D STEEL 193 C H A P T E R 11 LETHAL GIFT OF LIVESTOCK The evolution of germs 1 9 5 C H A P T E R 12 BLUEPRINTS AND BORROWED LETTERS The evolution of writing 1 1 5 C H A P T E R 13 NECESSITY' S MOTHER The evolution of technology 2 3 9 C H A P T E R 14 FROM EGALITARIANISM TO KLEPTOCRACY The evolution of government and religion 1 6 5 P A R T F O U R A R O U N D THE W O R L D IN FIVE CHAPTERS 293 C H A P T E R IS YALI' S PEOPLE The histories of Australia and New Guinea 2 9 5 C O N T E N T S • 7 C H A P T E R 16 HOW CHINA BECAME CHINESE The history of East Asia 3 2 2 C H A P T E R 17 SPEEDBOAT TO POLYNESIA The history of the Austronesian expansion 3 3 4 C H A P T E R I S HEMISPHERES COLLIDING The histories of Eurasia and the Americas compared 3 5 4 C H A P T E R 19 HOW AFRICA BECAME BLACK The history of Africa 3 7 6 E P I L O G U E T H E FUTURE O F H U M A N HISTORY AS A SCIENCE 40 3 Acknowledgments 4 2 7 Further Readings 4 2 9 Credits 4 5 9 Index 4 6 1 P R E F A C E T O T H E P A P E R B A C K E D I T I O N W H Y I S W O R L D H I S T O R Y LIKE A N O N I O N ?