D.S. Mattison's Reviews > Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
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May 08, 08

Recommended to D.S. by: everyone
Recommended for: christians
Read in January, 2008

In 800 some odd pages Jared Diamond sums up the biological and geographical history of humanity in order to prove that cultural dominance has nothing to do with race and everything to do with context. His theory is not new, rather, he assembles a number of common scientific truths about the evolution and survival of species into a comprehensive (although at points redundant) tome. It is one of the greatest syntheses of information that I have read and which was produced in the 27 years I have inhabited earth (at least in my current physical manifestation, should it turn out that some "other" part of us lives on). His work on axes and the transportability of food and culture along horizontal lines (the climate stays the same) as opposed to the difficult vertical (north/south) transportation (the climate changes greatly) is especially insightful. This book is a modern classic and all informed English speakers should probably read it at some point in time. Despite this obvious fact there is another which is equally true: Diamond is not the world's greatest writer. His words don't sing and the text, beyond its incredible scope, is not the least bit engaging with its school-book-essay style (ask question, repeat question, formulate hypothesis, test hypothesis, conclusion, repetition of conclusion, etc). But that's not why one picks this text up. That is why one reads Deleuze and Guattari as well.
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