History has been in existence since the formation of the earth and existence of mankind. The life and form of human beings have evolved over the years. While all human beings have same origin historically, evolution and development of human life and their living conditions led to inequality among different groups of people and different parts of the world. As a result, there are many pieces of literature including books, journals, among others, which explain different historical events (Diamond, 1999). However, some historical books or articles do not address historical issues fully especially historical factors that led to high development in some areas while leaving others highly underdeveloped. However, Guns, germs and steel: The fates of human societies, a book written by Jared diamond is totally different and unique historical book in contrast to other historical books.
This is because in his book Gun, germs and steel: The fates of human societies, Jared examined all historical events that happened in the last 13,000 years. However, unlike other historical books, Jared applied different methods and materials including scientific ones so as to ensure that he covers all necessary information and that every reader understands him properly. Another unique feature of this book is that unlike others, which focus on specific place, people or event, this book is focused on the entire human race (Diamond, 1999). This placed it in a neutral position as every reader comprehends that it has no any sign of racism or favor.
This book is not only exciting, but also easy to understand as it covers everything in details while giving real life examples from all parts of the world. The book starts by describing history from different perspectives and how it is different from other historical books (Diamond, 1999). By doing this it helped me to easily understand and follow all events being discussed in the book. In order to ease understanding of history, he compared it to an onion but he also accepted that it is difficult to understand it just the way it is difficult to peel layers of an onion.
Jared addresses inequality in power and wealth that we are witnessing currently in a simple and clear manner. He described how and why other parts of the world such as Eurasia managed to amass power and wealth I contrast to other parts such as sub-Saharan region. In order to let us understand the immediate cause of differences in wealth and power that we are seeing today. In order to discus the difference, he introduces Yali, a politician from New Guinea, whom he met long time ago in the course of his research. Using conversation that they had, he introduces Yali’s question which leads him to discuss how differences that we are observing currently came about (Diamond, 1999).
Jared also acknowledges that there are various historical developments in different parts of the world. He explains different historical developments in the section that he referred to as “Up to the starting line.” However, unlike other authors who choose specific developments or developments from specific part of the world when talking about historical developments, Jared discussed all historical developments and their immediate causes. He also discussed factors, which prevented these developments to take place in other parts of the world where they were not witnessed (Diamond, 1999). Unlike other authors who go straight to the point when discussing issues, Jared went back to 1100 BC so as to help as understand better all historical developments across the continent, there causes and what led to difference in development of these developments. By doing this, I fully understood different historical developments and their causes.
The other unique and outstanding issues used by Jared in the book Gun, germs and steel: The fates of human societies, is the use of experimental methods. While many historians believe that experiment is purely meant for scientific and biological studies, which many historians do not like to associate with history, Jared incorporated experiment in his studies. Use of experiment in this book enhances easy understanding of topics being covered. Furthermore, Jared recognized the influence and significance of metal age and industrialization. This is because he views these two factors as some of the major factors that led to differences in historical developments across the world. It is true at this point to concur with Jared that history is affected with every life aspect and one aspect led to development of another. With this in mind, Jared discussed how agriculture, war, trade, colonization, among other features helped to shape modern history and how these features came about.
Gun, germs and steel: The fates of human societies, discuses how critically nearly everything that we see and experience currently came in place, why it came, and how it affected people by then and currently. This kind of study gives more meaning to history as this book covers the historical period which it studies comprehensively (Diamond, 1999). Furthermore, by relating current issues to the previous ones and how they changed over the time in history, provides not only me, but all people who read this book with a good people to think and reflect. It also gives us a chance to determine whether it is right or wrong. Hence, combination of these features makes this book to be more unique and accurate in contrast to other historical books.
Many historians have never considered germs to be part of our history. This is because they do not value and effect of germs in the history. However, germs, no matter how tiny they may appear, have played significant role in the historical developments across the continents. It is only in this book where effect of germs and their contribution in the history development is recognized as discussed by Jared. Germs did not only affect population of specific groups of individuals, but also led to the invention of things such as medicines. They also helped us to understand significant reasons as to why germs killed specific groups of people while leaving others, and how the affected groups coped (Diamond, 1999).
In general, Gun, germs and steel: The fates of human societies, is a more comprehensive book that covered all historical events in the past 13,000 years. It addressed issues that we are still experiencing up to date. Hence, by reading this book, I have learned quite a number of things both positive and negative and how they can affect past and future history. This book will also help to create equality in power and wealth distribution among countries and groups of people as we have already known the cause of these differences. This book is therefore, not only informative, but also entertaining and educative. Hence, by reading it, we will understanding what led everyone of us in the conditions and environments that we are living in, and hence, provide us with an opportunity to improve it to the best.
Diamond, J. (1999). Gun, germs and steel: The fates of human societies. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
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