Book Guns, Germs, and Steel

20100627 pgs 009-011
20100627 pgs 013-017
20100708 pgs 017-028
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Count paragraphs starting with first incomplete one when applicable.

My comment: I want to enter ideas of my own prior to reading this book. I've taken the idea that every society is well off in it's own right. It's all well and good for one society to come and introduce science and technology, but I don't necessarily feel like one society made another society better. I never stopped to explain this intuition. Though I've thought about something similar. In this question and similar: 1) If you never were shown how great something could be, then are you missing out on happiness? 2) What is better? To be shown how great something could be and not have it. Say you had the best steak in the world once and never allowed it again. Or to have something that is as good as you know, for the rest of your life? 3) Is having a long life necessarily a good thing? 4) How great is all the technology we have? Breathing machines. Bombs. Nuclear technology.

Preface (pgs 009-011)
Simply explains the traditional historical analyses and what it isn't doing. Then how the reviewer felt diamond treated history like an onion.

context suggests close
–adjective; nearest; immediately before or after in order, place, occurrence, etc.
2.close; very near.
3.approximate; fairly accurate.
4.forthcoming; imminent.
1590–1600; < LL proximātus, ptp. of proximāre to near, approach.

1.near or approaching a certain state, condition, goal, or standard.
2.nearly exact; not perfectly accurate or correct: The approximate time was 10 o'clock.
3.near; close together.
4.very similar; nearly identical.
1400–50; late ME < LL approximātus drawn near to, approached (ptp. of approximāre )

Jared Diamond (JD) meets a new guinean politician named Yali; JD himself is a biologist studying bird evolution
Yali's question (pg 14, 4th paragraph, last line): "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?"
pg 15 paragraph 4, second sentence reformulating Yali's question in generality: "Why did wealth and power become distributed as they now are, rather than in some other way?"
pg 16 second paragraph: AD 1500. steel triumphs over stone and wood. So what led to technological and politcal inequalities of ad 1500.
third paragraph bings up 11000 BC to A.D. 1500 and certain differences require rephrasing the question
fourth paragraph: "Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents? Those disparate rates constitute history's broadest pattern and my book's subject."
next three paragraphs discuss that the books is about history and prehistory but hasa practical and political importance because of how interactions in the modern world result from these differences, namely conquest, epidemics and genocide leading to reverberations

1.a reechoed sound.
2.the fact of being reverberated or reflected.
3.something that is reverberated: Reverberations from the explosion were felt within a six-mile radius. act or instance of reverberating.
5.Physics . the persistence of a sound after its source has stopped, caused by multiple reflection of the sound within a closed space.
6.the act or process of subjecting something to reflected heat, as in a reverberatory furnace.

–verb (used without object) reecho or resound: Her singing reverberated through the house.
2.Physics . to be reflected many times, as sound waves from the walls of a confined space. rebound or recoil. be deflected, as flame in a reverberatory furnace.
–verb (used with object) echo back or reecho (sound). cast back or reflect (light, heat, etc.). subject to reflected heat, as in a reverberatory furnace.
1540–50; < L reverberātus (ptp. of reverberāre to strike back).

e.g. Colonialism; 6000 languages becoming replaced by English, Chinese, Russian, and a few others

discussion doesn't justify result
not eurocentric
there are +/- of so called civilization, no bias
makes arguments for new guineans advantage genetically and intelligently over europeans and yet...
author says climate arguments fail to answer yali's question
toynbee had a more narrow viewpoint
1.unyielding; unalterable: inexorable truth; inexorable justice.
2.not to be persuaded, moved, or affected by prayers or entreaties: an inexorable creditor.

people are led to believe the racist biological explanation is correct because no other answers have been given as an alternative
5th paragraph states the summary of the book in one sentence: "History followed different courses for different poeples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." [Reminds me of Michael T. trying to summarize board games in one sentence.]
If this is indeed the summary of the book, then I will enjoy it. Personally, I've been an advocate of environmental influences over genetic influences. I can't recall at the moment when I use this as an argument, but overall I lean towards environmental (cultural) influences. (Certain genetic influences have their place...)
Explains that the subject requires multiple disciplines, but one author to have a "unified synthesis" and continues to explain the author's background that qualifies him to answer the question.

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