Though we share 98 percent of our genes with the chimpanzee, our species
evolved into something quite extraordinary. Jared Diamond explores the
fascinating question of what in less than 2 percent of our genes has enabled
us to found civilizations and religions, develop intricate languages, create
art, learn science--and acquire the capacity to destroy all our achievements
overnight. The Third Chimpanzee is a tour de force, an iconoclastic, entertaining,
sometimes alarming look at the unique and marvelous creature that is the
Diamond is officially a physiologist at UCLA medical school, but he's
also one of the best birdwatchers in the world. The current scientific
consensus that "primitive" humans created ecological catastrophes in the
Pacific islands, Australia, and the New World owes a great deal to his
fieldwork and insight. In Diamond's view, the current global ecological
crisis isn't due to modern technology per se, but to basic weaknesses in
human nature. But, he says, "I'm cautiously optimistic. If we will learn
from our past that I have traced, our own future may yet prove brighter
than that of the other two chimpanzees." --Mary Ellen Curtin
Physiologist Diamond traces humankind's biological and social development
from about 40,000 years ago, to the present, and into the future. For general
readers. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
-- Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses
"Wonderful . . . Jared Diamond conducts his fascination study of our
behavior and origins with a naturalist's eye and a philosopher's cunning."
-- Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
"The Third Chimpanzee will endure."
-- Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University
"Everyone will enjoy reading this brilliant book. It helps us understand
what it means to be human."
-- Kirkus Reviews
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
"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
--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
Science, Materialism, and the Study of Culture
Martin F. Murphy and Maxine L. Margolis (eds.), 1995, Gainesville: University
Press of Florida.
From the Publisher:
"Well-argued, clearly written essays by anthropologists committed to
understanding culture through theoretically grounded analysis of its material
underpinnings. The authors' impassioned call for an anthropology that addresses
pressing social problems--exploitation, inequality, violence, hunger, and
underdevelopment--is a welcome counterweight to studies that view power
primarily as discourse or poetics."
--Marc Edelman, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
The social sciences, especially cultural anthropology, are mired in
contentious arguments about the desirability --even the applicability--of
scientific and causal principles in the study of culture and society.
The authors of these essays come down clearly on the side and significance
of these principles, claiming that a cultural materialist approach is the
most productive way of explaining cultural differences and similarities
and of understanding many "unexplainable" aspects of culture.
Part 1: Theoretical Perspectives
An Introduction to Cultural Materialism (Martin F. Murphy and Maxine
Part 2: Applications
Explanation and Ground Truth: The Place of Cultural Materialism in Scientific
Anthropology (Allen Johnson)
Infrastructural Determinism (R. Brian Feguson)
Politics, Theory, and the Nature of Cultural Things (Roger Sanjek)
Anthropology and Postmodernism (Marvin Harris)
Hunting Patterns and Village Fissioning among the Yanomami: A Cultural
Materialist Perspective (Kenneth Good)
Water Theft in Egypt's Fayoum Oasis: Emics, Etics, and the Illegal (David
A Cultural Materialist Approach to the Causes of Hunger and Homelessness
in New York City (Anna Lou Dehavenon)
"We Are All Chickens for the Colonel": A Cultural Materialist View of
Prisons (Jagna Wojcicka Sharff)
Peasants, Projects, and Anthropological Models: Fragile Causal Chains
and Crooked Causal Arrows (Gerald F. Murray)
Industrializing America: Understanding Contemporary Society
through Classical Sociological Analysis
Frank W. Elwell, 1999, Westport Connecticut: Praeger Press
From the Publisher:
"It deserves to be read and used as a textbook in a wide variety of
introductory courses in sociology, anthropology and sociocultural theory.
It can also serve as a text for American studies courses since it contains
in-depth descriptions of basic trends in American society and culture,
shedding new light on the core institutions of government, global corporations,
health care bureaucracies, food production, manufacturing and many other
features of what is often but erroneously called 'post-industrialism.'
Against the main current of the social sciences, here is a book that returns
us to the classical view that societies and cultures can best be understood
as entities whose parts fit together to form systems."
--Marvin Harris, Graduate Research Professor
Department of Anthropology University of Florida
An analysis of any part of the social system must be firmly rooted in
a framework that outlines the whole system and the interrelationships of
the various parts. Building on classical sociological theory, this
volume proposes an original and comprehensive systems theory of sociocultural
stability and change, which combines fundamental ecological relationships
with social structures and culture. Relationships and concepts developed
by Marx, Weber, Malthus, Spencer, and Durkheim are explained and synthesized
into a coherent perspective, which is used to examine multiple phenomena
in modern industrial societies.
The author argues that recent changes in social structures (for example
corporations, education, or the family) and culture (our socially created
and shared symbolic understanding of our world) are interrelated and rooted
in massive changes in population size and industrial growth. By systematically
relating the analysis of these sociocultural phenomena to the whole and
to one another this volume presents a framework that can serve to organize
and integrate many diverse theories, insights, and much empirical information
into a comprehensive world view.
Structure of Power
Family and Community
Ideology of Technology
Possibilities for the Future