Book Review: Guns, Germs, and Steel

I recently powered through Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond in preparing for the Geography/History class I am teaching at the coop this year. I know the book is 20 years old but I was getting my degree when it came out. LOL. I didn’t have time to read it then and it fell of my radar with a toddler under foot.

It is well written. His arguements are painstakingly laid out. I found him a bit repetitive at times. And his additional chapters were superfluous responses to criticism.

In short Diamond’s arguement is this: societies are shaped by what they were lucky enough to find in their physical geography. He makes a compelling arguement. Does he cover every possible permeation? I don’t know. I don’t know everything. But I will say this, his arguement agrees with my preconceived notions. LOL. Which is what everyone likes right?

He argues that any theory that attempts to explain societal differences based on race is erroneous. That populations are the same. They have the same capabilities. Why one population is more developed than other had nothing to do with their innate abilities. It is all dependent on what materials were there to work with. The larger a population you can support as a society, the more outliers you might have. Mathematically speaking if 1 in a hundred is an outlier and you have 50 people in your area…odds aren’t so good. But if you can support 5000, you’re going to have a number of outliers. And it’s the outliers that make the big jumps in invention for a society.

He talks about other factors as well. But I’ll let you read his book and get the full run down.

℘℘℘℘ – Four Pages. Good book. Lot’s of good info for my class.

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