In his 1997 work Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond marshals evidence from five continents and across 13,000 years of human history in an attempt to answer the question of why that history unfolded so differently in various parts of the globe. His results offer new explanations for why the unequal divisions of power and wealth so familiar to us today came into existence - and have persisted.
Balancing materials drawn from a vast range of sources, addressing core problems that have fascinated historians, anthropologists, biologists and geographers alike - and blending his analysis to create a compelling narrative that became an international best-seller and reached a broad general market - required a mastery of the critical thinking skill of reasoning that few other scholars can rival. Diamond's reasoning skills allow him to persuade his readers of the value of his interdisciplinary approach and produce well-structured arguments that keep them turning pages even as he refocuses his analysis from one disparate example to another.
Diamond adds to that a spectacular ability to grasp the meaning of the available evidence produced by scholars in those widely different disciplines - making Guns, Germs and Steel equally valuable as an exercise in high-level interpretation.
Riley Quinn holds master's degrees in politics and international relations from both LSE and the University of Oxford.
Ways in to the text Who is Jared Diamond? What does Guns, Germs & Steel: The Fate of Human Societies say? Why does Guns, Germs & Steel: The Fate of Human Societies matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited