Lauren
Lauren asked:

Despite the fascinating subject matter I found this book a bit dry. I found the book almost as boring as the mandatory ongoing professional development class pursuant to my subversive reading of a book connected to reality that led me to the initial acquisition of the book. Nevertheless; Mr. Diamond's knowledge and subject matter expertise would be---in my opinion--beyond reproach. Any Thoughts?

Roger don't be so damned pedantic.
Pat If I could figure out your second sentence I would answer you.
Benjamin It really seems like Diamond is in a damned if you do, damned if you don't position. On the one hand, the book gets criticism for being too exhaustive. I certainly felt a bit hit over the head with facts by the end. Ont the other hand, it gets criticism for not being exhaustive enough and not exploring other factors like markets and currency as factors in his theory. To me, yes the exhaustive lists of dates and numbers were rather dry. To most historians, they probably aren't exhaustive enough.
Zack I concur with your assessment. I listened to the audio-book, and even at 1.5x the regular speed, it was hard to get through. Full of facts and analysis, but how he "pulls it all together" into a narrative that is readable, or in my case, listenable, is wanting.
Wyatt Put down the thesaurus.
Ed Bernard I recently re-listened to it, and here's what I wrote in my capsule review:

This is a re-listen for me, I’d read this book many years ago. And here’s the thing - while this is one of the most important ethno-histories ever written, it’s not a great book. Yes, the ideas are important and the scholarship is first-rate — Diamond frames his narrative around Yali, a native of New Guinea who asks him “why did YOUR people create and export so much cargo (by which we can read “wealth”) and mine did not?” This question allows him to examine why some civilizations thrive (by modern western standards, which Diamond neither debates nor judges, just accepts because that’s what Yali asked) and others do not. And really, the answer is in the title — they (we) have guns while the Incas, say, did not, natives had no immunity for our diseases because they were more isolated, and they lacked the ability to control food production as efficiently as we did because we had steel. Modern development depends on these things, and when I first read this book, these ideas were more than simply fascinating — they changed by ideas about history. Now, here’s the problem — the book is rather boring, because it has too many examples, too much detail, and takes too long to prove its points. Because it is so exhaustive, it makes the scholarship stronger — but makes it a bit tiresome for the reader. Back in 1997, when the book was written (and I first read it), these ideas (and the racist philosophies they undermined) were new to me and exciting — now, the poorly written prose and flood of information just had me waiting for the end. Too bad, and a bit embarrassing, but ya gotta call em like you see em.

Grade: B
Judy I recently heard this author on a radio program. His knowledge is so extensive that I want to learn more about what he knows. I had given up on making any further progress with the book (I listed it over 2 years ago)and donated it to our local library. Now I am listening to the book on CD's and it is even hard to listen to it. He is a good speaker and I am interested in the information. I am reading his young peoples edition of THE 3RD CHIMPANZEE. And looking forward to reading his newest books.
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