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  • Writer's pictureArjun Patel

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Part 1

Hi everyone! I have started reading my new book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, and I am pleased to report that it has been such an extraordinary and thought-provoking novel, which I thoroughly enjoy. I look forward to future parts, and like last time, I will have four blog posts, one for each part of the novel, comprised of four components. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the evolution of humans and anyone who has enjoyed my last book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. This novel follows humanity's journey from the end of the last Ice Age to the present day.

Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel presents the idea of geographic determinism, which suggests that the differences in the development and success of societies stem primarily from geographical causes. The book is presented as a response to a question posed by Yali, a prominent New Guinean politician, who asked why European societies have succeeded in the last 500 years while other societies, such as his own, have not.

In the book's first part, Diamond outlines the course of human history, focusing on the differences between civilizations. He traces the origins of human beings to Africa about 500,000 years ago and their eventual migration to other parts of the world in search of food. About 11,000 years ago, some humans developed agriculture, a significant milestone in human history. In Sapiens, Harari focused on the Agricultural Revolution in Part 2 of his novel. He explained that the Agricultural Revolution began around 12,000 years ago (different from Diamond's theory), and humans settled around areas with crops. Harari disagrees that this was a significant leap forward, calling it "history's biggest fraud." He believes that this domestication led to the suffering of humans and animals. Harari dismisses racist views and notes that differences between people are cultural, not biological. The Agricultural Revolution brought changes that still impact us today, but Harari argues that it made life more challenging for humanity.

Back to Guns, Germs, and Steel, by the 15th century, there were vast differences between civilizations. When the Spanish arrived in the Inca Empire in the early 16th century, they easily defeated the Incan Emperor, Atahualpa. The book aims to explain why Europeans were able to colonize the New World rather than the opposite happening. This question remains to be answered throughout the rest of the novel, and I eagerly await the chance to read and learn more about it. It is fascinating how the Europeans colonized the New World with such ease. Still, it remains to be seen why it was not the other way around, especially since we know New World civilizations were quite advanced in their technology for their age. However, as Diamond pointed out earlier, Europeans were also highly successful in the past.

This part sparked my interest and laid the foundation for something I hope to enjoy. I will be talking more about the start of my sophomore year of high school in my next blog post in two weeks! See you guys then!

- AnthroManTalks

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