Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
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Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies Audiobook by Jared Diamond is a popular non-fiction book written by Jared Diamond and first published in the year 1997. The author provides his analysis to explain as to why some civilizations have been more successful and dominant than the others. He discusses as to why the Eurasian and North African civilizations have been survived and conquered others and emerged as more dominant. He says that the successful civilizations were geographically lucky. According to Diamond, two factors played an important role in the development of human civilization- the diversity of local flora and fauna, and the relative landmass size and geographical orientation.
The Eurasian continent was lucky to have a vast variety of plants and animals to domesticate. The ready availability of grains like barley and wheat, textiles like flax and domestic animals like oxen and horses led to the rapid progress and development of the Eurasian civilization. Diamond says that comparatively, the non-Eurasian civilizations had to cope with more difficult crops like maize and had lesser animals to domesticate which hampered their development.
The Eurasian continent was larger in size and it allowed people to travel and explore for trade and business, which would not been possible in smaller continents like Australia and South America. The author also highlights the importance of landmass orientation on the human civilization development. He says that continents which are spread out on East-West orientation have better chances of supporting domestic life and development than the North-South spread continents as it will be hampered by climatic disparities.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies Audiobook by Jared Diamond received critical acclaim. It won the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction and also the Aventis Prize for the best science book. The author provides for an interesting and engrossing analysis of his claims for explaining the degree of development among different civilizations. However, the author has also been criticized for using a broad theory and ignoring the impact of cultural interactions, imperialism, colonization etc. on the human civilization.
The book still provides some interesting insights into the factors which shaped different civilizations and their comparative development. This is a recommended read and will be enjoyed by readers interested in history, social development, and anthropology.