Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

This is a fascinating book, tracing the history of human development in all areas of the world, including tracing human migration patterns, the development of food production, how germs helped Europeans conquer America, how humans have almost always exterminated a significant percentage of the animals they have found in any new territory they've moved into and how languages have developed. It isn't as gripping a read as Diamond's earlier book The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, which I talked about here last year and also for anyone who has read the earlier book the insistent repitition of facts becomes irritating rather than useful as it is for people entirely new to the topic (my Mum pointed that repitition out as one of the things she most liked about the book, but she hasn't read the earlier one!). It is however a vital book to read if you're interested in the history of our relationship with the earth and with each other.

5 comments:

Dave King said...

Yes, you convince me that the book is truly fascinating. Musttry to read.

christine said...

I have that book, but I've only read the first chapter. I'm afraid of the commitment, as it is very long! I admire your reading stamina. And I agree, the topic is fascinating.

Lucy said...

I'm a bit like Christine with big non-fiction and history books in general! But I've found you can dip in and out, read a bit, come back...

This sounds really interesting. I like the 'capsules' in Norman Davies history of Europe because they deal with those broad, fundamental, though seemingly incidental things about history that get left out of the orthodoxies.

tom said...

As it turned out, I read Jared Diamond's books in reverse order. In order the next one you'd find is Collapse, which I found excellent and the most interesting to read.

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