Guns, Germs, And Steel Review Essay

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I first read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel in the Fall 2003 based on a recommendation from a friend. Many chapters of the book are truly fascinating, but I had criticisms of the book back then and hold even more now. Chief among these is the preponderance of analysis devoted to Papua New Guinea, as opposed to, say, an explanation of the greatly disparate levels of wealth and development among Eurasian nations. I will therefore attempt to confine this review on the "meat and potatoes" of his book: the dramatic Spanish conquest of the Incas; the impact of continental geography on food production; and finally, the origins of the Eurasian development of guns, germs, and steel. In terms of structure, I will first summarize the …show more content…
The beneficial continental circumstances enjoyed by Eurasians first appears in vegetation. The Fertile Crescent was endowed with diverse, abundant, and highly productive cereals and pulses such as wheat, barley, and pea that yielded both starch and protein. These food staples were domesticated very quickly and with little effort by Eurasians, whose newfound farms gave rise to specialization and division of labor. Conversely, in the Americas, the sole cereal crop of corn took many more thousands of years of domesticated refinement to prove useful to humans. Mr. Diamond also places great emphasis on the geographic East-West orientation of Eurasia. A plant growing at a given latitude can grow at that latitude the world over. Thus, Eurasia's East-West orientation was highly conducive to the rapid spread (by trade) of productive domesticated grains across the continent. Conversely, the Americas, Africa, and Australia were impaired by their North-South orientation, which dictated that domesticated plants from people of one latitude were of little use to their neighbors to the North and South. Compounding the effect, the trade of agricultural technology in Eurasia ultimately led to trade in other things, such as technological advances, including writing and language
After tending to the pig and sheep herds, the next logical step for a Eurasian farmer who had just acquired the seeds for

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