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.