Essay: Guns, Germs and Steel

Sample Essay

The author Jared Diamond in the book Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies writes that the alternative title for his book would probably be a short history about everyone for the last 13,000 years. This topic will explain the author’s main argument as well as cite a passage where he states his points clearly. We will also give two proximate and two ultimate factors to support his claims, ending with an evaluation of his main argument.

It should be noted that the main argument the author brings forward in this book has been mentioned quite well in the preface the rest of the book merely acts as a supplement to his main idea. The main argument in this book is summed up clearly in the following question:

“Why did wealth and power become distributed as they now are, rather than in some other way? For instance, why weren’t Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, subjugated, or exterminated Europeans and Asians?” (Diamond p. 13-32,1999)

He explains this by saying that the advancements in culture in the European and Asian continents are not due to their moral, intellectual or genetic superiority. Rather the gaps in development are mostly due to the geographical advantages each race had. He says that the earliest civilizations were hunter-gatherers before they eventually developed a system of agriculture. This of course leads to the production of food surpluses such supports larger populations and in effect a larger population necessitates a division of labor. This leads to large societies with ruling classes and supporting classes which in turn becomes a ruling organization.

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