Guns, Germs and Steel

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


The Pop-Tart Whisperer
Feb 19, 2007
Southern New Jersey
I've been reading the book "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond after watching a program on PBS. I'm only about a third way thru (it can be a difficult read) but I've become fascinated by this history of human society. The book is truly eye-opening.

Has anyone else read it and are most of the assumptions by Mr. Diamond on point or skewered?
Read it. Didn't think much of it. Goes by the idea that most of human achievement is an accident of location. The thinking of the book is very linear. A+B=C. Nothing else can get in the way. If some point of human history does not fit the theory, it gets discarded.

Not an easy read either. Not enjoyable. I equate it to the idea that, "if you suffer for something, it must be worth it". Sadly, this is rarely the truth. "Guns, Germs and Steel" is overated. There is some good stuff in it, decent theories. But he does not do a good job when he sums it up. His attempt at "the grand theory of everything" fails.
I tried to read this book about 5 years ago and put it down halfway through,
for most of the reasons Timshatz gives. Very crusty reading even if
one is given to a love of social anthropology. It boils down to if you are
lucky enough to be born where the ground is fertile with plenty of water and
a mountain of iron ore on the back 40, then the world will be your oyster.
-I read it finished it after several tries. It is pedantic and the author often struggled to make his points. As one who majored in agriculture in college and later worked in humanitarian relief, I saw the points he was trying to make but believe he was both too broad brushed in his assumptions and too selective ("cherry picking") in his examples. I found it interesting but far from authoritative.
The idea that History always repeats itself and that History never repeats itself are equally valid
Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.
The past actually happened. History is what the victors took the time to write down

Users who are viewing this thread