Germs, which originated from the livestock, might not seem like a positive development, especially where they caused epidemics that swept through food producing communities. However, Diamond explains that epidemics allowed survivors to develop resistance. This had two benefits: Also, those who had developed resistance could transport diseases abroad for use as weapons during wars of conquest. Wars of conquest constitute a major theme throughout this book, although, in some cases, these were not so much wars as instances of a single food producing community vanquishing a group of hunter-gatherers.
Still, Diamond draws attention to major historical episodes involving conquest and colonization, with one well-known example being the European conquest of the Americas in Diamond details such events across the five continents, endeavoring to find out why some peoples triumphed over others.
Diamond consequently describes the various geographical and ecological setbacks that limited the crops and livestock available in some regions. These setbacks could affect not only local resources but the import of resources from other areas. Hostile climate conditions and terrain, for example, could hinder the diffusion of food production to peoples who might have been able to reap its benefits.
Farming and domesticating animals provide social stability that is lacking in hunter-gatherer societies. Labor specialization enables certain groups to develop weapons. Major portions of Eurasia had a natural advantage in developing agriculture and domesticating animals because of geography and the presence of plants and animals that could be easily domesticated.
The landmass of Eurasia, laid out on an east-west axis, allowed for the sharing of crops, animals, and ideas. The Americas, stretched out on a north-south axis, traverse various climate zones and geographic boundaries that discourage trade.
The diversity and density of Eurasian populations created an immunity to germs that would later wipe out the more isolated populations of the Americas.
At a time when other popular nonfiction topics centered on personal relationships and diets, Diamond caught the attention of the reading public with a fascinating account of more than 13, years of human evolution and societal development. Although the book has raised a few points of controversy among scientists, it also has gained widespread praise.
But most critics praise Diamond for the task he successfully took upon himself, which was to answer a very complex question. After all, Diamond points out, a mere two centuries prior to his meeting Yali, New Guineans were still using stone tools. What factors caused this gap between the development of one culture and another? Diamond searched for an answer by examining millions of years of history, mapping out the migrations of early humans from Africa to Eurasia, from eastern Asia to the Pacific Ocean islands, and from Siberia to the North and South American continents.
He follows humans as they evolve biologically, and then he concentrates on specific representative societies to illustrate his findings. To define the differences between developing cultures, Diamond emphasizes the effects of food production, writing, technology, government, and religion. Then he demonstrates, in his opinion, why the differences among various cultures occurred.
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Essays and criticism on Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel - Critical Essays. In Guns, Germs, And Steel, author Jared Diamond uses environmental and geographical determinism to explain why some of the world's people have advanced so much more than the rest of the world's peoples. His basic thesis is that environmental differences, not biological differences, led to the /5(11).
Guns, Germs, Steel, and controversy: Diamonds unique look at evolution and history. Through out Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond attempts to explain the dominance of certain ethnicities. The backbone to this book and the questions that Diamond asks and answers, stem from a question asked of. Guns, Germs, and Steel study guide contains a biography of Jared Diamond, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and .