In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond uses both geographical and environmental determinism to explain to readers why some regions in the world have advanced more than others. Basically, his main thesis is that important environmental differences (not biological) resulted in those extreme differences that exist in the modern society. This story offers a comparative history, and the author argues his thesis quite successfully.
There are a few important themes or differences discussed in this well-known book. They include the rates of migration and diffusion both within and between different continents, their different demographics, and differences in present animal and plant species available for their domestication. Jared Diamond argues that these differences are responsible for the superiority of European cultures over other parts of the world.
It’s quite subtle in chapters that these are his important points. The author starts with discussing specific migration patterns and their anatomy of the earliest humans, and then he gradually moves on to the extinction of Australian animals. This is how he sets up the targeted audience for his major theory. Another thing that Diamond does is making a comparison of the big games of Australia and America when talking about their early tools. His basic target is to prove that such continents as Africa and Australia had their head start over America and Europe, but the latter ones turned out into leading and dominant cultures these days.
The author also uses the example of the Polynesian Islands to introduce readers to the early diffusion of ideas and human migration. He also uses this region to show how the extinction of big games caused these islands to evolve in a completely different way, even though they had similar ancestors and origins in Australia.
For example, the Maori were more aggressive compared to the Moriori as the island where they lived didn’t have many natural sources. That’s why the Maori has to become warlike and competitive, and this factor enabled them to easily conquer and invade the Moriori who were more peaceful. This is what the author calls natural experiments in history, and he is careful when using non-American examples when trying to explain his concepts and theories. They are quite interesting and refreshing because our existing ethno-centric culture tends to concentrate only on European examples.
In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond uses both geographical and environmental determinism to explain to readers why some regions in the world have advanced more than others. Basically, his main thesis is that important environmental differences (not biological) resulted in those extreme differences that exist in the modern society.