Book Reviews Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. By jared diamond. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997. Pp. 480. $27.50 (cloth). The search for a paradigm that informs our understanding of global history has concentrated on fashioning a unifying vision or organizing principle that scholars can use not only to describe an enormous variety and number of events, but also to explain how these events were con- nected to each other and how they fit into some larger picture of the past. Some scholars have emphasized human social inventions, such as states, empires, religious faiths, economic institutions, or cultural prac- tices. Others have based their inquiry on a more materialistic founda- tion, emphasizing geography, climate, the biosphere (interpreted broadly to include food and disease), human genetics, or energy flows. A third group has focused on the interaction between these two domains, emphasizing the ways in which humans have manipulated their mate- rial surroundings by means of technologies such as stone tools, the lateen sail, the steam engine, or the integrated circuit. As one might surmise from the book’s title, Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel is an example of this last category; two-thirds of the study
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Feb 24, 2005
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