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

Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world.

Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion—as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war—and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures.

A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal. (From the publisher.)

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  • Teresa E.

    PBS also has an interesting interactive website for the show. It's a good outline of the key points.

    August 22

  • Teresa E.

    Also, If you're short on time (I know it's a long book) feel free to watch the documentary and/or skip around the book to the parts you find most interesting. This should be an interesting discussion regardless.

    August 22

  • Teresa E.

    Hi Everyone, You may know that this book was made into a documentary that aired on PBS. It's available on YouTube and a great watch if you have or have not read the book.

    August 22

  • Ayuko

    Hi Mary and Teresa, I have decided to continue my course for another 5 weeks, so I will have to pass this one too. But I will still be able to host I am Malala discussion.

    August 9

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