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Diamond begins with a survey of human pre-history, covering the spread ofhumans around the world down to 11000 BC.

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Guns germs and steel essay | Gathering Events

More recent books like ‘Before the Dawn’ by New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade or ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution’ by Harpending and Cochran build on Diamond’s book in this respect.

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Underlying these immediate causes, however, is what Diamond sees asthe central key to understanding human history — food production, orthe domestication of plants and animals.

Guns, Germs, and Steel - Wikipedia

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In his introduction Diamond writes that "since Toynbee's attempt,worldwide syntheses of historical causation have fallen into disfavoramong most historians, as posing an apparently intractable problem".

Though Diamond is a physician turned evolutionary biologist, he avoidsthe major pitfalls and can be read by historians and social scientistswithout flinching.

the ones to end up with guns, the nastiest germs, and steel?” ..

Despite the breadth of Guns, Germs andSteel, it doesn't even begin to be a general synthesis of historicalcausation.

When Diamond writes about the proximate and ultimate causesof the collision at Cajamarca, for example, he is not explaining whyPizarro captured Atahuallpa at Cajamarca — only why a Eurasianleader was confronting a Native American leader somewhere in the Americas.

The second important argument was made by McNeill and contends that ultimately “the spread of useful species was usually a conscious act…determined by trade links, migration routes, and happenstance”. He argues as an example that a single line of latitude on Eurasia could vary greatly, from “the Gulf Stream-induced equability of western Europe, to the continental climate extremes of Kazakhstan, to the monsoon rhythms of Korea”, and consequently make the dispersion of animal and plant species very hard. He also attributes a lot of this dispersion as due to trade within Eurasia. Again, these criticisms have their flaws. For instance, jungles present much more of a barrier than continental plains or even desert, because of the greater number of diseases they harbor and because they are much more physically hard to pass. I think another crucial factor is that significant climate shifts, that have played a very large role triggering nomadic migrations and expansions within and out of the Eurasian Great Steppe, are lacking in rainforests, encouraging a more permanent existence. As for the second argument, it is downright irrelevant in the context of the book, because Eurasia as a continent only started to become contiguous with the genesis of the Silk Road during Roman times. By then, all the key crops and livestocks were already in place, that had generated the rise of the civilizations which were only then beginning to communicate with each other, albeit in rudimentary form, over thousands of kilometers.

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  • Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond

    In an excellent summary —probably the best popular account I have seen — Diamond chronicles theorigins of agriculture.

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel became an international best-seller, ..

    Diamond, Jared M. 1997. Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

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

    Finer explanations require the invocation of forms of historical causationon which Diamond doesn't touch at all.

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11/01/2008 · Guns, Germs, and Steel has 193,658 ..

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Author Jared Diamond's two-part thesis is ..

Nor were the extra-Eurasian continents especially suitable for pastoral economies. Of the world’s 143 big wild herbivores, only 14 are domesticable and only five – sheep, goats, cows, pigs and horses – can thrive across a broad range of climates. These discrepencies are due to the so-called Anna Karenina principle, which states that a variety of factors can null the chances of an animal being domesticable – their growth rates, problems of captive breeding, nasty dispositions, tendency to panic, and social structure. According to Diamond, of the 5 major and 9 minor domesticable animals, 13 are indigenous to Eurasia and one (the llama) is indigenous to South America. Africa might have animals that could be tamed (e.g. the elephant), but none that has ever been domesticated. The dearth of big animals in general in the Americas and Australasia is due to the fact that humans, with refined hunting skills, arrived there only 11,000 and 40,000 years ago respectively, and hunted all of them down because the animals had not had time to get used to this. The “lethal gift of livestock” also gave Eurasian peoples germs (as most infectitious diseases originated from human interactions with animals – for instance, flu was derived from pigs and ducks, and measles, smallpox and tuberculosis all derive from cattle), and, consequently, stronger immune systems to the diseases. The resultant fact that the exchange of germs was virtually one-way largely explains successful European colonization of the Americas.

Guns Germs Steel Thesis Statement Free Essays

Next Diamond presents a capsule history of the origins of writing(in Mexico and Sumeria, and possibly in China and Egypt), exploringthe limited uses of early writing systems, its gradual refinement, andits spread by emulation and copying.

Guns Germs Steel Thesis Statement

Finally Diamond suggests a key difference between the continents: theprimary axis of Eurasia is east-west, whereas the axes of Africa andthe Americas are north-south.

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