20 Years of Guns, Germs, and Steel

 

There are a lot of 20th anniversaries for me this year. 1997 happens to be a year of outsized importance in my life — I graduated from Ponderosa High School and started attending the Colorado School of Mines, after all — but important cultural winds were blowing aside from matriculation, including the release of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Although I didn’t pick up the book for several years after its publication (I was busy doing other things … like calculus) the influence that this work would have upon the world — and the worldview of those who have read it — is important and worth discussing now that time has allowed for cool reflection upon its central and provocative thesis.

That thesis, in short, is this: European powers were capable of overwhelming native populations in places like the New World due to the confluence of technology developed by those societies, largely as a result of factors outside of their control. The development of germs to which native populations had little resistance was mostly due to the domestication of animals that passed their diseases over to their symbiotic partners (humans) and the presence of those domesticable animals was itself a function of geographic luck in the first place.

Eurasian populations also benefited from temperate climates which had enabled the selective breeding of highly productive plants which set off a positive feedback loop, improving agricultural outputs, allowing for urbanization and economic specialization, development of technology, and the centralization of political power. The relative alignment of Eurasia also led to inherently greater speed with which technology and domestication could occur due to large East-West travel routes of similar climate, so such innovations didn’t need to be invented sui generis in every geographically distinct location.

So, how has Diamond’s thesis held up over the last 20 years and why is it important to me? To begin with, I’ve always been fascinated by history. If I weren’t numerate, I could have envisioned myself becoming a historian, and my college and high school transcript reflect it. A four on the AP American History Exam (I had mononucleosis when I took the test…) and a five on the AP European History Exam are probably my crowning Prep School achievements which I attempted to continue even in the environment of engineering higher education.

I keep my copy of Palmer and Colton’s “A History of the Modern World” as a reference whenever I need to place important historical events in context. Although those AP courses wiped out most of my liberal arts requirements, I nonetheless kept up my interest with elective classes like “The History of Technology” and a couple of other courses which led me directly into reading Guns, Germs, and Steel.

It is precisely that academic and casual interest in history that has led me to the conclusion that Diamond’s thesis is deeply flawed, and flawed not because he presents facts which are incorrect, (although some are certainly debatable) but because he allows his personal views and attachments to the native cultures that he has personally studied and interacted with to color his judgment. It’s arguable that Diamond is also something of a cultural relativist, given how far he goes out of his way to point out that even though the vast majority of scientific, mathematical, and societal achievements have come from Eurasian civilization, this has nothing to do with the inherent intelligence or moral character of the native populations that he has come across. Instead, he lays credit for the outcome of history — European hegemony over the known world such as what had emerged by the 18th century — at the feet of what I’ll call “geographic determinism.”

Several facts militate against Diamond’s explanation for this ordering of world affairs.

This piece does a workmanlike job of taking down at least one of the legs of the stool of Diamond’s thesis — mainly the portion about Germs — in which his unsupported assertion that many areas had undomesticable animals and plants is debunked. There were animals and plants available for domestication in those far-flung locations but the proper incentives to do so likely didn’t exist. He may have been correct about Europe being a petri dish for novel bacteria and viruses, but for the wrong reasons. Many of the diseases endemic to Europeans didn’t leap from animals, but are ancient. And add to this the fact that there were simply more people to serve as a breeding population for pathogens, and a population that needed to resist them to survive and, voilà, you can have carriers of disease that are resistant to that disease but can nonetheless pass it along to others without such resistance.

What I’m more interested in, however, are the looming counterexamples that Diamond omits on the frontiers of Guns and Steel. Really, this is one topic in that you can’t have guns without steel, but what this actually consists of is an expression of a society’s capability to synthesize something novel out of a variety of unrelated disciplines ranging from mathematics to metallurgy to chemistry and even economics.

The counterexample to which I refer that bestrides the horizon and casts severe doubt upon these remaining legs of Diamond’s thesis is of course China.

China’s culture is incredibly old. There is evidence of Homo Erectus using fire at some sites in China over a million years ago, and there is a relatively unbroken string of historically documentable civilization there going back at least 2,000 years before the Common Era (BCE). For reference, classical Egyptian civilization extends as far back as 3000 BCE, but whereas Egyptian civilization essentially collapsed from within and before an onslaught of various outsiders, including Persian conquerors and dynastic failures, Chinese civilization was defined primarily by consistent internecine rather than external conquest, the exception being the conquest of Genghis Khan.

Chinese civilization possesses many of the features and advantages that Diamond claims Eurasian civilizations benefited from and came by naturally, including:

  • temperate weather
  • navigable rivers
  • domesticable animals
  • abundant natural resources
  • plenty of arable land
  • over-land routes of transportation to other Eurasian civilizations enabling easy transfer of technology

Using these numerous advantages, the population of China surged and its civilization prospered such that by the time of the 10th century, many of the features of the modern technocratic state had emerged. Alongside the invention of advanced metallurgy and knowledge of chemistry which allowed for the manufacture of functional firearms, the Chinese pioneered the invention of moveable type, had invented hydromechanical clocks and were even practicing the use of insurance for ships involved in commerce and performed exchange with paper money.

While classical European civilization had collapsed with the end of the Roman Empire, the Chinese were sailing to Eastern Africa and possessed the world’s largest naval fleet. Using this economic and technological might, China grew into the dominant power of Southeast Asia until the coming of the Portuguese and Dutch in the 1500s. After that time, Chinese power relative to European colonial power ebbed, as both internal and external foes steadily ate away at the Empire.

So, what happened between the height of classical Chinese civilization and the coming of the Colonial powers that shifted the balance so dramatically that the British seized Hong Kong in the Opium War? The aforementioned internecine warfare, of course, but something else entirely novel to Chinese civilization. In comparison to its Western European rivals, one of the principal features of Chinese culture was its adherence to Confucianism, which led in turn to a more inward-looking and xenophobic society just as China was reaching its zenith economically and politically relative to its neighbors around 1200 CE.

Given similar advantages to those possessed by the vast majority of the Eurasian powers, Chinese society chose instead to look inwards rather than out, and the advanced technology that they possessed relative to their competitors was quickly surpassed. The various warring factions within China failed to unite under a common banner and proved intractable when faced with new and diverse threats, preferring to maintain its older culture rather than advancing where possible.

For instance, everybody “knows” that Johannes Gutenberg invented the moveable type printing press sometime around 1450, but the reality is that this technology had already existed for hundreds of years in China at that point. So, why did this invention help spark a scientific and cultural revolution in Europe, while the technology had seemingly peaked in China? The answer of course is that Europeans possessed the pre-existing technology of Phonetic written language, whereas the Chinese written language (especially prior to the “simplification” of written Chinese) consists of over 80,000 unique characters. With just 52 interchangeable characters (upper and lower case — not counting numbers or punctuation) a person could theoretically spell out any message in English, and adding just a few more characters gets you close to practically any European language you want to select. In comparison, it is impractical to have on hand a sufficient number of type-set worthy characters to mass print and transmit anything beyond the most rudimentary message in Chinese. Add to this the difficulty of regional dialects and usage, which were quickly overcome in Europe due to the efficiency gains associated with coalescing around common usage and grammar.

Also, in order for this to be useful, you must not only be able to read and write this complicated language (an elite educated class) but possess all of the prerequisite technology to build a printing press, (such as metallurgy) the medium upon which you are going to print (paper or papyrus), and lastly, have sufficient numbers of people available who want and are able to read what you’re printing.

When mating the technology of the printing press together with phonetic language, Europe was able to leap far ahead of their Chinese counterparts by quickly disseminating all manner of knowledge throughout the economic spectrum and radically increasing the value to an individual of learning to read and write. Meanwhile, the economics of reading and writing the Chinese language remained prohibitive for all but the wealthiest members of Chinese society. Serfdom in China carried on for centuries, long after it had been functionally abolished in Europe, largely as a result of the explosion in knowledge brought about by the printing press.

The story of this sort of technological transfer and improvement is repeated in the European context over and over again, where it was ultimately put to very effective use in conquering of most of the planet.

This synthesis of varying technological strands into one Earth-shaking invention is the sort of cultural dexterity that Jared Diamond scoffs at and dismisses when he ascribes all of the differences in outcomes that we see between cultures to what boils down to luck of the draw in where your ancestors ended up.

Thomas Sowell once said, “Those who say that all cultures are equal never explain why the results of those cultures are so grossly unequal.” Guns, Germs, and Steel attempts to answer that thorny dilemma and does so in a very compelling manner. It’s an important book and should be read — but it should also be examined and have its flaws explained even as its virtues are extolled.

There are 117 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Thanks for this review and critique.

    • #1
  2. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Interesting stuff.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Majestyk: cultural dexterity

    What a wonderful term! It could be applied to modern cultures, too! Fascinating review, M.

    • #3
  4. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Majestyk: So, how has Diamond’s thesis held up over the last 20 years and why is it important to me? To begin with, I’ve always been fascinated by history. If I weren’t numerate, I could have envisioned myself becoming a historian, and my college and high school transcript reflect it. A 4 on the AP American History Exam (I had mononucleosis when I took the test…) and a 5 on the AP European History Exam are probably my crowning Prep School achievements which I attempted to continue even in the environment of engineering higher education. I keep my copy of Palmer and Colton’s “A History of the Modern World” as a reference whenever I need to place historical important events in context.

    Are you my long lost twin brother?

    • #4
  5. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Majestyk: He may have been correct about Europe being a petri dish for novel bacteria and viruses, but for the wrong reasons. Many of the diseases endemic to Europeans didn’t leap from animals but are ancient, and add to this the fact that there were simply more people to serve as a breeding population for pathogens, and a population that needed to resist them to survive and voila – you can have carriers of disease who are resistant to that disease but can nonetheless pass it along to others without such resistance.

    The Black Death – Yersinia Pestes – was indeed ancient.  It’s first pandemic was not in Europe of the Middle Ages, but Europe of the early 500s.  It basically kneecapped the then resurgent Eastern Empire.

    • #5
  6. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    skipsul (View Comment):

    Majestyk: So, how has Diamond’s thesis held up over the last 20 years and why is it important to me? To begin with, I’ve always been fascinated by history. If I weren’t numerate, I could have envisioned myself becoming a historian, and my college and high school transcript reflect it. A 4 on the AP American History Exam (I had mononucleosis when I took the test…) and a 5 on the AP European History Exam are probably my crowning Prep School achievements which I attempted to continue even in the environment of engineering higher education. I keep my copy of Palmer and Colton’s “A History of the Modern World” as a reference whenever I need to place historical important events in context.

    Are you my long lost twin brother?

    Probably.  I’ll have to talk to Dad about his activities in 1978…

    • #6
  7. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Yes, Diamond and others bent over backwards to try to claim nothing more than the natural consequences of dumb luck as the basis for Europe’s rise to world domination.  What is doubly infuriating about this claim, beyond its shameful relativism, is the way in which his thesis essentially reduces human beings to unfree agents and automatons – it’s cargo cult thinking wrapped up in a memorable title, and it supposes that if, say, the Aztecs had been gifted these 3 fates, they would have had the same results.  Culture matters.

    • #7
  8. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Majestyk (View Comment):

    skipsul (View Comment):

     

    Are you my long lost twin brother?

    Probably. I’ll have to talk to Dad about his activities in 1978…

    Perhaps you already are….

    • #8
  9. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    skipsul (View Comment):
    it’s cargo cult thinking

    Interesting that you should say that, given that the very first chapter of GG&S introduces us to Diamond’s friend Yali, who asks the trenchant question: “Why do the whites have so much cargo, while New Guineans have so little?”

    The answer of course is tied up in human history.  That’s not to say that natural resources don’t matter – if you’re from Eritrea (lowest per capita GDP on Earth) it’s unlikely that you’re going to amount to much, and the answer isn’t just that Eritrea is a miserable Islamofascist pit.  If you look at Eritrea from space, what you ought to notice is… there’s nothing there.  It’s a horrific moonscape of a desert.  But even given that notable hindrance, there’s no reason why people couldn’t be free there and enjoy significantly better economic lives.  But, as a result of the fact that Eritrea is a one-party fascist state that isn’t going to change.

    Culture does indeed matter.

    • #9
  10. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Mendel (View Comment):

    Majestyk (View Comment):

    skipsul (View Comment):

    Are you my long lost twin brother?

    Probably. I’ll have to talk to Dad about his activities in 1978…

    Perhaps you already are….

    Hey-o…

    • #10
  11. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Diamond’s simplistic theories certainly qualify as being too clever by half.

    But in the end, even the “culture matters” explanation for the differences in societies is incomplete.

    Why should some cultures develop the superior moral codes, intelligence, sophistication, curiosity, etc., that propel them above their peers? Culture is not a property which a society can willfully and deliberately convey upon itself; it is an emergent phenomenon.

    Assuming we all stem from a common origin, there must have been some uncontrollable determinant as to why Eurasian culture developed differently from other cultures. And when one boils the options down, the strongest contenders are: environment, genetic drift, or the divine.

    Given what we know about genetic variation and the links between genetics and intelligence, a secular historian would not be amiss to choose environment as the most likely determinant.

    NB: I attended a lecture by Diamond about two years ago. The guy is an intellectual train wreck in person.

    • #11
  12. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Mendel (View Comment):
    NB: I attended a lecture by Diamond about two years ago. The guy is an intellectual train wreck in person

    Do tell, I’m curious!

    • #12
  13. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    skipsul (View Comment):
    Yes, Diamond and others bent over backwards to try to claim nothing more than the natural consequences of dumb luck as the basis for Europe’s rise to world domination.

    Yabbut, at least it’s better than the usual “because white men are evil” explanation.

    • #13
  14. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):

    skipsul (View Comment):
    Yes, Diamond and others bent over backwards to try to claim nothing more than the natural consequences of dumb luck as the basis for Europe’s rise to world domination.

    Yabbut, at least it’s better than the usual “because white men are evil” explanation.

    I really can’t agree with that.  At least once a looney starts ranting that “white men are evil” he has already conceded that culture and race should be taken into consideration.  Someone like Diamond is just sticking his fingers in his ears and trying to play the middle.

    • #14
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Yes x 100000

    • #15
  16. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Mendel (View Comment):
    Diamond’s simplistic theories certainly qualify as being too clever by half.

    But in the end, even the “culture matters” explanation for the differences in societies is incomplete.

    Why should some cultures develop the superior moral codes, intelligence, sophistication, curiosity, etc., that propel them above their peers? Culture is not a property which a society can willfully and deliberately convey upon itself; it is an emergent phenomenon.

    Assuming we all stem from a common origin, there must have been some uncontrollable determinant as to why Eurasian culture developed differently from other cultures. And when one boils the options down, the strongest contenders are: environment, genetic drift, or the divine.

    Given what we know about genetic variation and the links between genetics and intelligence, a secular historian would not be amiss to choose environment as the most likely determinant.

    I don’t remember if it is in this book or another that had a similar premise that I was assigned as a history major, but one of the speculations put forth as to why China’s culture didn’t go the route of Europe’s cultures was the early achievement of political unity.  Europe’s segmented geography with islands, peninsulas, and mountain chains meant that the continent has never been unified. European cultures have been competing with each other and trying to dominate each other with no one culture having any kind of permanent success. Competition leads to development and improvement.  By contrast, the eastern seaboard of China (with the vast majority of the population) has almost always been controlled by a central state for the last several thousand years. Monopoly leads to stagnation, even in cultures.

    I agree with the fundamental point of the geography thesis — the environmental riches (or lack thereof) of a culture’s surroundings have enormous effects on a culture’s growth and achievements. Europe north of the Alps was a cultural backwater until about 1000 AD because it took that long to domesticate enough animals and plants and create the technology to exploit them to achieve the necessary population density.  I do think it goes too far in ignoring the role of culture.  Friendly geography is a necessary, but far from sufficient, quality for political success.

    • #16
  17. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    skipsul (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    NB: I attended a lecture by Diamond about two years ago. The guy is an intellectual train wreck in person

    Do tell, I’m curious!

    Unfortunately, nothing very interesting. He’s quite open about being an amateur anthropologist, and while it’s nice that one doesn’t need to be a PhD-level academic to write books at that level, some degree of rigor and systematic thought processes would be nice. Instead, the lecture was a disjointed, stream-of-consciousness discourse. As one would imagine from reading his books, his ideas are wide-ranging (and indeed often creative) but not particularly deep. And he likes to talk.

    I saw him in San Francisco, so you would imagine the audience would be quite receptive; but by about 30 minutes in, most people around me seemed to be impatiently looking at their watches.

    • #17
  18. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    I think Niall Ferguson intended his book Civilization: The West And The Rest to be something of a rebuttal to Diamond.

    • #18
  19. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    An older work that I read long before GGS is The Coming of the Book.  An in depth look at the social and economic impacts of printing, and fills in the story of its singular cultural impact.  NOT a light read.  (I share the OP’s qualms re Diamond’s relativism, which also shows in some of his other work.)

    • #19
  20. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    I don’t remember if it is in this book or another that had a similar premise that I was assigned as a history major, but one of the speculations put forth as to why China’s culture didn’t go the route of Europe’s cultures was the early achievement of political unity. Europe’s segmented geography with islands, peninsulas, and mountain chains meant that the continent has never been unified. European cultures have been competing with each other and trying to dominate each other with no one culture having any kind of permanent success. Competition leads to development and improvement. By contrast, the eastern seaboard of China (with the vast majority of the population) has almost always been controlled by a central state for the last several thousand years. Monopoly leads to stagnation, even in cultures.

    Also, even the larger states tended to be federal or quasi-federal to one degree or another.  Look at the Roman Empire, for example.  Provinces had a great degree of cultural and economic autonomy, if not political autonomy.

    One of my complaints about Niall Ferguson’s book was that he didn’t discuss this factor enough. I think subsidiarity is a bigger factor in the history of the West than it gets credit for.

    • #20
  21. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    My mother visited me while I was living overseas just after the paperback publication of Guns, Germs, and Steel. She then promptly read it, leaving me to do all the driving during her trip. Based on what she told me in gushing terms, I knew I never needed to read it. And I still haven’t.

    • #21
  22. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    I’ve been following the “West Hunter” blog you linked to for a couple of years.  Always interesting, though get out into the weeds with technical genetics that I don’t understand.  Definitely politically incorrect. I recommend it.

    • #22
  23. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    dnewlander (View Comment):
    My mother visited me while I was living overseas just after the paperback publication of Guns, Germs, and Steel. She then promptly read it, leaving me to do all the driving during her trip. Based on what she told me in gushing terms, I knew I never needed to read it. And I still haven’t.

    I still like his thesis, I just think he goes too far with the “this explains everything” mentality.  The debate shouldn’t be limited to “geography or culture but never both”, but the effect of geography on civilization might not have been popularized without Diamond’s book.

    One reason I like his thesis is that it provides me with a line of attack when some idiot says a society should totally reorient itself in one way or another. One can usually find a really good geographical/economic reason why that society oriented itself the way that it did in the first place, and why it would be so difficult, if not completely ill-advised, to radically change that orientation at this point.

    (e.g. “If New Orleans is so flood-prone, then people just shouldn’t live there.” Um, there’s a really good geographical reason New Orleans is located where it is. It’s where the Mississippi meets the Gulf of Mexico.)

    • #23
  24. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    I don’t remember if it is in this book or another that had a similar premise that I was assigned as a history major, but one of the speculations put forth as to why China’s culture didn’t go the route of Europe’s cultures was the early achievement of political unity. Europe’s segmented geography with islands, peninsulas, and mountain chains meant that the continent has never been unified. European cultures have been competing with each other and trying to dominate each other with no one culture having any kind of permanent success. Competition leads to development and improvement. By contrast, the eastern seaboard of China (with the vast majority of the population) has almost always been controlled by a central state for the last several thousand years. Monopoly leads to stagnation, even in cultures.

    This is a hell of a lot like my own theory, that I came with independently, and without reading much of anything by anyone.  The difference would be I saw population density as being a factor.  Asians are more concentrated with a larger population in a smaller area, which promotes central control and cooperative societies.  The Caucasians, which genetically include Indians and Middle Eastern/North African, had a smaller population in a larger geographic area.  That would produce cooperation locally, but competition everywhere else.  So the west gets cooperation and competition, the east gets cooperation, and sub-Saharan Africa got neither; because they weren’t facing new challenges, they remained largely stagnant.

    My uneducated opinion.

    • #24
  25. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Al French (View Comment):
    I’ve been following the “West Hunter” blog you linked to for a couple of years. Always interesting, though get out into the weeds with technical genetics that I don’t understand. Definitely politically incorrect. I recommend it.

    It frustrates me greatly when a blog doesn’t have a Facebook feed.  Facebook has all but replaced RSS for me.

    • #25
  26. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    The difference would be I saw population density as being a factor.

    Of course it is, but population density doesn’t just happen. China could have that level of population density because they had land that was both much easier to farm and easier to ship goods across. You can’t get cities like Nanking or Shanghai without being able to ship enormous amounts of food down the river, which took London and Paris much longer to accomplish. Rome was only able to get to its size because of the Egyptian grain trade, and once those fields were in Muslim hands and out of the European trade network, Europe had to come up with its own way to feed large cities.

    • #26
  27. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    The difference would be I saw population density as being a factor.

    Of course it is, but population density doesn’t just happen. China could have that level of population density because they had land that was both much easier to farm and easier to ship goods across. You can’t get cities like Nanking or Shanghai without being able to ship enormous amounts of food down the river, which took London and Paris much longer to accomplish. Rome was only able to get to its size because of the Egyptian grain trade, and once those fields were in Muslim hands and out of the European trade network, Europe had to come up with its own way to feed large cities.

    Indeed!

    What isn’t mentioned in this video is the effect of the Himalayas on the climate and agriculture of southeast Asia. The mountains block the warm air from the ocean which results in the monsoons, and also many of the vital rivers are ultimately fed by Himalayan glaciers.  If the Himalayas weren’t there it would be a completely different story.  Geography.

    • #27
  28. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Here you can listen to VDH dismantle Diamond on this subject.

    • #28
  29. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    The difference would be I saw population density as being a factor.

    Of course it is, but population density doesn’t just happen. China could have that level of population density because they had land that was both much easier to farm and easier to ship goods across. You can’t get cities like Nanking or Shanghai without being able to ship enormous amounts of food down the river, which took London and Paris much longer to accomplish. Rome was only able to get to its size because of the Egyptian grain trade, and once those fields were in Muslim hands and out of the European trade network, Europe had to come up with its own way to feed large cities.

    That certainly complements what I was thinking.  I was focused more exclusively on what produced the cultural differences and how the character of those differences affected their global competitiveness.

    • #29
  30. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    I used GGS as a source when I was writing my own History of Medicine. It’s called “A Brief History of Disease, Science and Medicine,” and, if anyone is interested it is on Amazon. I wrote it in 1998 and it is for medical students but I’m happy to see anyone buy it.

    Since then, a better book has come out for genetics called. “The 10,000 Year Explosion.”  It is so dense with information that I have read it half a dozen times. I am now working my way through his bibliography.

    There is a good review of GGS on Cochran’s web site.

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/guns-germs-and-steel-revisited/

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.