Elizabeth King's Reviews > Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
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's review
Jan 21, 2008

it was ok

Germ Guns & Steel

It is a thesis,
His thesis being; that all animals are created equal… but not all animals sleep in a bed with sheets.
Because in addition to needing tree for wood to make looms, herders to shear sheep & weavers to make sheets, you also need (DHU) SHEEP.
Yep, if you are unlucky enough to be born on a continent or onto part of a continent with only anteaters, there is no fucking way you are going to get sheets, no matter how smart you are.
All well and good…but not so very readable...
We all believe that. Or want to believe it. Or pretend we want to believe it and it’s nice to have such a dry, logical explanation.
Oh some of his facts are interesting, (like the spread of animal to human diseases. In fact I ran right out and made my next store neighbor stop suckling her piglets!)
But generally his writing is like his name, Diamond, hard, cold & brilliant, but not particularly gripping.
Now Pollan (Botany of Desire,) not only has a more gripping style, but, to my mind at least a much more unique and interesting premise.
OK so the idea of Co evolution is not new... But the idea that we humans are involved, not just as manipulators but as part of the co in co evolution is an idea.. An idea that disturbs…
Some Physicists & chemists are not unlike religious folks, They believe man is the measure of all things.. All right, maybe not man, but chemists & physicists.
They believe that all is knowable & that we will eventually know it. (Or rather they will, they tell us the bits we need.)
So they can read Germs , Guns & Steel.. But they can’t even get through the prologue of Botany of Desire.
OK I’m talking about 2 of the 3 physicists I know… Not I grant you a large sample.
But I was reading the biography of Wilson the noble prize winning Harvard ant-omoglist (Myrmecologist) & even he talks about the great war between biologists & micro-biologists. They wouldn’t even talk to each other unless it was to say
“So where did you get your research from… Reader’s Digest”? Ugly, ugly, ugly.

So either there is co- evolution.. Which we sort of get, but can’t totally understand… or God is sitting in heaven designing flowers to look like bee genitalia

Jared Diamond, who has his own Pulitzer for Guns, Germs And Steel, described (Wilson) as "one of the 20th century's greatest thinkers."
I have my own issues with E.O. Wilson, not the charges of racism, misogyny & eugenics, which I believe were unfounded, but with his early scientific experiments.
He wanted to create a “living lab.” To investigate how far, fast & wide evolution would spread insect & crustacea life to islands.
So he took some tiny islets in the Everglades and doused them with Malathion, exterminating the entire insect & crustacean population. Crustacean…so it must have gotten into the water.
Now that’s what I call killing the horse before the cart

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08/28/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5)

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Aaron You sleep on/under wool sheets? Sorry :), I'm a chemist.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

"...or God is sitting in heaven designing flowers to look like bee genitalia."
I love the thought of an All-Powerful Being having this as a hobby.

Botany of Desire on the TBR list.


Nathan Cottrell You can grow cotton...

message 2: by A. (new) - rated it 3 stars

A. T. Excellent :)

message 1: by A. (new) - rated it 3 stars

A. T. Excellent :)

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