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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
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HEALTH- MEDICINE - SCIENCE > 9. GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL ~ CHAPTERS 15 AND 16 (295 - 333) (11/08/10 - 11/14/10) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

For the week of November 8th through November 14th, we are reading approximately the next 38 pages of Guns, Germs and Steel.

This thread will discuss the following chapters and pages (it opens up on November 8th or the evening of the 7th):

Week Nine – November 8th – November 14th - > Chapters FIFTEEN and SIXTEEN
p. 295 - 333
FIFTEEN – Yali’s People and SIXTEEN – How China Became Chinese

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we have done for other spotlighted reads.

We kicked everything off on September 12th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, on iTunes for the ipad, etc. However, be careful, some audible formats are abridged and not unabridged.

There is still remaining time to obtain the book and get started.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.



This is a link to the complete table of contents and syllabus thread:

We continue the journey.


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

Rodney | 83 comments These were somewhat interesting chapters, but I could not help thinking, Diamond's explanation of how these societies evolved was obvious.

I fully admit, that what appeared as common sense to me maybe because I now understand the authors thesis and he's using these chapters to put explain it a bit further.

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I think Rodney you raise an interesting observation about Diamond's style. He has actually taken some very complex hypotheses and arguments and explained them in a way which was easy for most readers to digest and understand. A real talent in distilling scientific findings to the layman.

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 20, 2010 08:53PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
And so the story continues:

"Part 4 ("Around the World in Five Chapters," Chapters 15 - 19) applies the lessons of Parts 2 and 3 to each of the continents and some important islands.

Chapter 15 examines the history of Australia itself, and of the large island of New Guinea, formerly joined to Australia in a single continent.

The case of Australia, home to the recent human societies with the simplest technologies, and the sole continent where food production did not develop indigenously, poses a critical test of theories about intercontinental differences in human societies.

We shall see why Aboriginal Australians remained hunter-gatherers, even while most peoples of neighboring New Guinea became food producers."

Chapters 16 and 17 integrate developments in Australia and New Guinea into the perspective of the whole region encompassing the East Asian mainland and Pacific islands. The rise of food production in China spawned several great prehistoric movements of human populations, or of cultural traits, or of both.

One of those movements, within China itself, created the political and cultural phenomenon of China as we know it today.

Another resulted in a replacement, throughout almost the whole of tropical Southeast Asia, of indigenous hunter-gatherers by farmers of ultimately South Chinese origin. Still another, the Austronesian expansion, similarly replaced the indigenous hunter-gatherers of the Philippines and Indonesia and spread out to the most remote islands of Polynesia, but was unable to colonize Australia and most of New Guinea.

To the student of world history, all those collisions among East Asian and Pacific peoples are doubly important: they formed the countries where one-third of the modern world's population lives, and in which economic power is increasingly becoming concentrated; and they furnish especially clear models for understanding the histories of peoples elsewhere in the world."

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