Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel

Why has Western European Civilization become the most dominant culture on Earth? And, will the entire planet and Western Civilization with it become victims of that success?


This documentary is based on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel and traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century. Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality.

Guns Germs and Steel Episode One : Out of Eden

Jared Diamond’s journey of discovery began on the island of Papua New Guinea. There, in 1974, a local named Yali asked Diamond a deceptively simple question: “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo, but we black people had little cargo of our own?”

Guns Germs and Steel Episode Two : Conquest

On November 15th 1532, 168 Spanish conquistadors arrive in the holy city of Cajamarca, at the heart of the Inca Empire, in Peru. They are exhausted, outnumbered and terrified – ahead of them are camped 80,000 Inca troops and the entourage of the Emperor himself. Yet, within just 24 hours, more than 7,000 Inca warriors lie slaughtered; the Emperor languishes in chains; and the victorious Europeans begin a reign of colonial terror which will sweep through the entire American continent.

Guns Germs and Steel Episode Three: Tropics

So far, Jared Diamond has demonstrated how geography favored one group of people – Europeans – endowing them with agents of conquest ahead of their rivals around the world. Guns, germs and steel allowed Europeans to colonize vast tracts of the globe – but what happened when this all-conquering package arrived in Africa, the birthplace of humanity?

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1 Response to “Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel”


  1. 1 chen019 June 12, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Diamond’s book is a little out of date on genetics. Recent studies have shown that there was an increase in genetic change with the development of agriculture and population expansion in eurasia. Some of these changes appear to relate to neurological function (see papers by Benjamin Voight, Bruce Lahn or Scott Williams).

    New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade’s book ‘Before the Dawn’ covers some of this, as does the more recent ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution’.


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