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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Guns, Germs, and Steel for showing
how human history has been shaped by a society's
access to agriculture, guns, germs, and steel.

Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Fates of Human Societies
By Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs, and Steel (1999) - 496 pages
Guns, Germs, and Steel at Amazon.com

Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? In this groundbreaking book, already a classic of our time, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns. Here, at last, is a world history that really is a history of all the world's peoples, a unified narrative of human life.

The story begins 13,000 years ago, when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Around that time, the paths of development of human societies on different continents began to diverge greatly. Early domestication of wild plants and animals in the Fertile Crescent, China, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and other areas gave peoples of these regions a head start. Why wheat and corn, cattle and pigs, and the modern world's other "blockbuster" crops and livestock arose in those particular regions and not elsewhere was, until now, only incompletely understood.

The localized origins of farming and herding proved to be only part of the explanation - for the differing fates of different peoples. The very unequal rates at which food production spread from these initial centers had much to do with other features of climate and geography - such as the differing sizes, locations and even shapes of the continents. Only societies that advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage acquired a potential for developing writing, technology, government, and organized religions - as well as those nasty germs and potent weapons of war.

It was those societies, adventuring on sea and land, that expanded to the new homelands at the expense of other peoples. The most familiar examples involve the conquest of non-European peoples by Europeans in the last 500 years, beginning with the voyages in search of precious metals and spices, and often leading to invasion of native lands and decimation of native inhabitants thorough slaughter and introduced diseases. Similar population replacements, less familiar to American readers, unfolded earlier in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and other parts of the world.

A major advance in our understanding of human societies, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way in which the modern world, and its inequalities, came to be. It is a work rich in dramatic revelations that will fascinate readers even as it challenges conventional wisdom.

Jared Diamond, professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles, is the author of the best-selling Collapse and The Third Chimpanzee. He began his scientific career in physiology and expanded into evolutionary biology and biogeography. Diamond has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has received the National Medal of Science, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Science, and the Burr Award of the National Geographic Society, and he has published over two hundred articles in Discover, Natural History, Nature, and Geo magazines.

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Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Fates of Human Societies
By Jared Diamond

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Guns, Germs, and Steel for showing
how human history has been shaped by a society's
access to agriculture, guns, germs, and steel.