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what's the gist 
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Post what's the gist
Just out of interest, can someone sum up Diamond's thesis in "Guns, Germs and Steel" in three or four sentences. This doesn't preclude my reading the book, but I'd like to see a short version of the argument.




Tue Apr 12, 2005 9:01 pm
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Post Re: what's the gist
Basically the book attempts to answer the question:
"Why did different societies on earth develop in such different manners?"

Why is it that Spanish conquistadors sailed to South America and colonised the natives, as opposed to the South Americans coming to Spain?

The usual answers to these types of questions invoke a number a factors, reflected in the title of the book; 'guns, germs and steel'. But Diamond argues that these are merly proximate causes, and only pushes the question a step back rather than actually answering it. The real question then becomes why were these societies, as opposed to these societies, the ones who develeoped technology, complex political structures, etc. We need to look for the ultimate causes rather than the proximate ones.

Diamond finds the ultimate answers in biogeography. He argues that the ultimate reasons for the differences in socital development lie in differences in local flora and fauna, differences in terrain, differences in climate and so on.

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Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:49 am
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Post Re: what's the gist
I've just started reading this and it's very interesting so far. I've actually thought of a plot for a book I want to write just by reading the introduction.

I'm sure you'd enjoy this book MA, it's a light read and interesting.




Fri Apr 22, 2005 11:41 pm
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