Guns Germs and Steel Chapter Summary

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Prologue: Yali’s Question Jared Diamond has done extensive field work in New Guinea. His indigenous New Guinean politician friend Yali asked why whites had been so successful and arrived with so much "cargo" compared to the locals. Diamond rephrases this question: why did white Eurasians dominate over other cultures by means of superior guns, population-destroying germs, steel, and food-producing capability? Diamond’s main thesis is that this occurred not because of racial differences in intelligence, etc. but rather because of environmental differences. He wishes to play down Eurocentric thinking and racist explanations because they are loathsome and wrong. Modern Stone Age peoples "are on the average probably more intelligent, not…show more content…
Matyash 4 Chapter 5: History’s Haves and Have-Nots On large parts of the globe, food production did not arise or came much later due to various ecological reasons. But there were some areas that ecologically were very suitable for food production where this production did not occur until modern times. Diamond asks why food production sprang up independently in some areas, but not in others. I think that he already explained the answer to this question. He said that food production sprang up in some areas and not others for various ecological reasons. Is this not the answer to his question? If he already gave an answer to his question, then why is he asking it? Chapter 6: To Farm or Not to Farm The decision to continue farming or to stop it derives the factors behind the shift from the hunter-gathering life-style to food production. Early farmers were smaller and less-well-nourished and worked harder than the hunter-gatherers they replaced. I think that the shift was such an advantage was: (1) there was a decline in the availability of wild foods, (2) there was an increase in the availability of wild plants that could become domesticated, (3) there was a cumulative development of food production technology and (4) a rise in food production equals a rise in the population density. Chapter 7: How to

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