By Jared M. Diamond
Dismantles racially established theories of human background by way of revealing the environmental elements he feels are answerable for history's broadest patterns.
Read Online or Download Guns, germs, and steel : the fates of human societies PDF
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Extra resources for Guns, germs, and steel : the fates of human societies
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. com W. W. C.? CHAPTER 2 A NATURAL EXPERIMENT OF HISTORY How geography molded societies on Polynesian islands CHAPTER 3 COLLISION AT CAJAMARCA Why the Inca emperor Atahuallpa did not capture King Charles I of Spain PART TWO THE RISE AND SPREAD OF FOOD PRODUCTION CHAPTER 4 FARMER POWER The roots of guns, germs, and steel CHAPTER 5 HISTORY’S HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS Geographic differences in the onset of food production CHAPTER 6 TO FARM OR NOT TO FARM Causes of the spread of food production CHAPTER 7 HOW TO MAKE AN ALMOND The unconscious development of ancient crops CHAPTER 8 APPLES OR INDIANS Why did peoples of some regions fail to domesticate plants?
Writing has evolved de novo only a few times in human history, in areas that had been the earliest sites of the rise of food production in their respective regions. All other societies that have become literate did so by the diffusion of writing systems or of the idea of writing from one of those few primary centers. Hence, for the student of world history, the phenomenon of writing is particularly useful for exploring another important constellation of causes: geography’s effect on the ease with which ideas and inventions spread.
The best-known modern example of such an effort was Arnold Toynbee’s 12-volume Study of History. Toynbee was especially interested in the internal dynamics of 23 advanced civilizations, of which 22 were literate and 19 were Eurasian. He was less interested in prehistory and in simpler, nonliterate societies. Yet the roots of inequality in the modern world lie far back in prehistory. Hence Toynbee did not pose Yali’s question, nor did he come to grips with what I see as history’s broadest pattern.