Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

I found it refreshing to read something which genuinely attempted to grasp the big picture of history. Ably dismissing the conceited and partisan theories of earlier generations (and of most people living today), Diamond proposes sensible scientific alternatives which c...
I found it refreshing to read something which genuinely attempted to grasp the big picture of history. Ably dismissing the conceited and partisan theories of earlier generations (and of most people living today), Diamond proposes sensible scientific alternatives which carry the ring of truth, and apparently so self-evident that it seems amazing no one thought of them before. He isn't too concerned with the individuals and events which are the backbone of traditional histories. He won't explain why one or other political power in Europe gained the advantage in some situation. These are the fine details of the broader picture - and in a very real sense they don't affect the outcome of history. What Diamond wants to know is, for instance, why a steadfastly stone-age Europe was not colonised by gun-toting Native Americans. His ideas give a kind of tragic certainty to the history that we all know and I suspect that many will try to dismiss them as 'cultural determinism', as they have with other authors in this vein. If I have any criticism at all it is that Diamond rather labours the point, but this is not necessarily a bad thing with new and interesting ideas. This is an approach to history of which I would like to see a lot more - I could not put this book down. I have read most of the science books shortlisted for the 1998 Rhone-Poulenc prize and am very glad that this one won.

posted by Anonymous on May 24, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

Book with an agenda/ bias...

In reading this book it is obvious that it was written with a bias towards indigenous peoples ( especially those of New Guinea ). A seeming white European apologist view of history and an attempt to justify his claim that said people are more intelligent than the Europe...
In reading this book it is obvious that it was written with a bias towards indigenous peoples ( especially those of New Guinea ). A seeming white European apologist view of history and an attempt to justify his claim that said people are more intelligent than the Europeans who came and in some areas subjegated and slaughtered them. The logic in this regard is quite flawed ( take his example of stating that europeans are better with technology then native people from new guinea because they were raised with such.., while people of new guinea are better in nature and the forests/ deserts then europeans because they grew up in this enviroment.., so, the people of new guinea are more intelligent.. ( huh?? ) ) I would say that any intelligent person knows that no one race or ethnicity of people is any more or less intelligent than any other. While I did find some interest in regards to the rise of agricultre and how/ why some crops were chosen over others.., the book truly should have been edited and made into a book about the history and peoples of New Guinea and the surrounding areas. Overall a book with an agenda and a bias which comes through quite clearly.

posted by Anonymous on January 13, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    Stinker

    I really didn't enjoy this book I don't even know why it won an award. This book is excessively long and under detailed it's a bunch of lies. I dont' reccomend it at all unless you need some tips on how to fall asleep if so grab this book and begin to read on page you will fall asleep guarenteed.

    4 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Interesting material, but way to drawn out.

    This book would have been better if it had been about half as long. I felt that the author was extremely repetative and found myself skipping entire paragraphs to get though it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2006

    Clumsy

    This book made me think of a review given at the beginning of a class I really didn't want to take but which was required. Most of the material presented here is readily available elsewhere. A few factual errors appear, but in the main the book succumbs to faulty logic. The author is given to sweeping generalizations and incomprehensible lapses of reasoning. (For instance, viruses apparently only leap from domesticated animal hosts to humans--the opposite possibility isn't entertained, nor the evolution of primate-specific pathogens, nor the possibility that a virus might enter humans from a wild population, as HIV has apparently done. The Mediterranean dolphin epidemic of canine distemper some two years past is instructive in this regard.) The result is a clumsy synthesis of current knowledge.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2013

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