March 16, 2011

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Title: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Author: Jared Diamond
Publisher:  W.W. Norton and Company
Pages:  494
Genre: Social Science, Human Geography

The Fertile Crescent is the native home to the donkey, the cow, pig, goat, sheep and dog.    It is a native home to 32 types of large-seeded wheat species.  It is also the native home to peas, lentils and chickpea which are pulses high in protein.  Flax, also original to the area, is high in fiber.  This variety of homegrown, provided for a balanced diet of the early man.  The Fertile Crescent is the birthplace of modernity.  Australia is native to no domestic animals.  Australia was home to no crops.  All their nutrients came from the hunting of wild animals and the harvesting of wild vegetation.  For various reasons, the animals were not able to be domesticated and the vegetation was not able to be farmed.  Australian natives were hunting with spears as recently as the 20th century.

Each area of the world has its own climate, native plants, animals, and unique geographic features.  The foundation of each culture springs from the circumstances offered that specific group based on geographic location.  If there are no animals easily domesticated nor harvest-able crops in a particular area, those living there will not grow and prosper as those living in the Fertile Crescent.  With animals and edible vegetation come farms and with farms come large groups of people living in small areas and with this comes government, competition and disease.  Each society is equal other than geographic location.

This book appears to have been written in reverse.  The author has his politically correct conclusion selected and must be particular in supporting the resolution with historical examples, facts and theories.  He neither has anything negative nor positive to say about any particular culture or society.  This gives the appearance of an unbiased author.  The book is powerful with interesting examples.  It offers some education with a broad and brief, although theorized history of the world.