Guns, Germs, and Steel

guns germs steel

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies’ is a 1997 book by Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at UCLA. The book’s title is a reference to the means by which European nations conquered populations of other areas and maintained their dominance, despite often being vastly outnumbered – superior weapons provided immediate military superiority (guns); Eurasian diseases weakened and reduced local populations, making it easier to maintain control over them (germs) and centralized government promoted nationalism and powerful military organizations (steel).

The book attempts to explain why Eurasian civilizations (including North Africa) have survived and conquered others, while attempting to refute the belief that Eurasian hegemony is due to genetic superiority. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies originate in environmental differences, which are amplified by various positive feedback loops. When cultural or genetic differences have favored Eurasians (for example Chinese centralized government, or improved disease resistance among Eurasians), these advantages were only created due to the influence of geography and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes.

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