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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 53 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Guns, Germs, and Steel.
This section contains 1,036 words
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Themes

Race vs. Environment

One of the main themes and arguments in the book is the juxtaposition of theories of race and biology with those of geography and biogeography. Perhaps the most used explanation in trying to explain the different timing of developments on different continents or the conquests of certain groups over others has been a racial or biological one that assumes a racially superior or more intelligent society. Thus, under these theories, the most intelligent, racially superior groups first make inventions, develop new innovations, and conquer other groups. It is "survival of the fittest, or best." This explanation has been used to justify wars, colonization, and slavery.

The very thesis of Diamond's book challenges this and instead, argues environmental and geographical factors caused developmental differences and differences in the timing of these developments. Some of the geographical causes he mentions are plant and animal domestication, suitable climates, and...

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This section contains 1,036 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Study Guide
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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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