Major Works
by
Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond, 1997, New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

About this title:
This history examines the influences of geography and environment on the development of civilization and seeks to find large patterns that might explain why, in the modern period, some groups seem to have significantly greater material wealth than others. The author is an evolutionary biologist and his scientific approach to human history draws on examples from societies all over the world.
 

Book Description:
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal. 

Editorial Reviews: 
"An ambitious, highly important book." 
--James Shreeve, New York Times Book Review

"The scope and explanatory power of this book are astounding." 
--The New Yorker 

Jared Diamond...is broadly erudite, writes in a style that pleasantly expresses scientific concepts in vernacular American English and deals almost exclusively in questions that should interest everyone concerned about how humanity developed. . . .Reading Diamond is like watching someone riding a unicycle, balancing an eel on his nose and juggling five squealing piglets. You may or may not agree with him (I usually do), but he rivets your attention. 
--Alfred W. Crosby, Los Angeles Times 

"A fascinating and extremely important book. That its insights seem so fresh, its facts so novel and arresting, is evidence of how little Americans --and, I suspect, most well-educated citizens of the most important forces of human history." 
--David Brown, Washington Post Book Word 

"Guns, Germs and Steel is an artful, informative and delightful book...there is nothing like a radically new angle of vision for bringing out unsuspected dimensions of subject and that is what Jared Diamond has done." 
--William H. McNeil, The New York Review of Books 

"No scientist brings more experience from the laboratory and field, none thinks more deeply about social issues or addresses them with greater clarity, than Jared Diamond as illustrated by Guns, Germs, and Steel. In this remarkably readable book he shows how history and biology can enrich one another to produce a deeper understanding of the human condition." 
--Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University 
 

 

About this title:
"I've set myself the modest task of trying to explain the broad pattern of human history, on all the continents, for the last 13,000 years. Why did history take such different evolutionary courses for peoples of different continents? This problem has fascinated me for a long time, but it's now ripe for a new synthesis because of recent advances in many fields seemingly remote from history, including molecular biology, plant and animal genetics and biogeography, archaeology, and linguistics." -Jared Diamond Who has looked on the ancient Maya or classical Mediterranean cities and not wondered why they were abandoned? Or whether they hold a message for us? In this fascinating book, Jared Diamond seeks to understand the fates of past societies that collapsed for ecological reasons, combining the most important policy debate of our generation with the romance and mystery of lost worlds. Citizens of first world societies look around and tend not to see signs of imminent ecological collapse: the supermarkets are full of food; water gushes from our faucets; we live amidst trees and green grass. Actually, though, many past civilizations--with far smaller populations and less potent destructive technologies than those of today--have inadvertently committed ecological suicide: the Polynesian societies on Easter Island and other Pacific islands or the Anasazi civiliation, for example. Ecocide asks why some societies make disastrous decisions, and how can we in the modern world learn better problem solving? Ecocide is an ecological history of human societies that considers why societies in some regions have been more vulnerable than those in other regions, and also compares the trajectories of pastcivilizations with likely trajectories of our own. Why did Greenland fail where Iceland succeeded? What links Rwanda and Australia? What can contemporary Montana learn from the ancient Mayans and modern Chinese?
 


About this title:
A provocative look at mankind's evolution from the ape into the complex creature we call human. By standards of other animals, our powerful civilization appears unique. So do many of our behaviors, including our sexual habits and the ways we select mates. Yet in many respects we are merely another species of ape--our genes are more than 98% identical to those of chimpanzees. 25 line drawings and halftones.
 


About this title:
Why are humans one of the few species to have sex in private? Why are human females the only mammals to go through menopause? Why is the human penis so unnecessarily large? There is no more knowledgeable authority than the award-winning author of THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE to answer these intriguing questions. Here is a delightfully entertaining and enlightening look at the unique sex lives of humans.
 

 



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