Guns, Germs and Steel
Jared Diamond, author of the Pulitzer Prize Winning, National Best Selling book Guns, Germs and Steel, summarizes his book by saying the following: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." Guns, Germs and Steel is historical literature that documents Jared Diamond's views on how the world as we know it developed. However, is his thesis that environmental factors contribute so greatly to the development of society and culture valid? Traditions & Encounters: A Brief Global History is the textbook used for this class and it poses several different accounts of how society and culture developed that differ from Diamond's claims. However, neither Diamond nor Traditions are incorrect. Each poses varying, yet true, accounts of the same historical events. Each text chose to analyze history in a different manner. Not without flaws, Jared Diamond makes many claims throughout his work, and provides numerous examples and evidence to support his theories. In this essay, I will summarize Jared Diamond's accounts of world history and evolution of culture, and compare and contrast it with what I have learned using the textbook for this class.
Jared Diamond begins Guns with a prologue which sets the stage for the rest of the book. Approached in New Guinea by his friend and local politician Yali, he is posed a question: "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?" Yali's question flared a nerve in Diamond. This question brought about the thesis of his book, that environment is more persuasive on development of civilization than people may have once thought.
In the first chapter of Guns, Diamond establishes two main arguments that will become crucial to his thesis later on in the book. First, he goes in depth about mass extermination...
Cited: Bentley, Jerry H., Herbert F. Ziegler, and Heather E. Streets. Traditions & Encounters: a Brief Global History. 1st ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel. New York, London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999.
Santayana, George. "Quotes About History." History News Network. 20 Mar. 2007 .
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