Review: Guns, Germs and Steel (Documentary)

Guns, Germs and Steel

Author of the book: Jared Diamond

The critically acclaimed ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by scientist Jared Diamond was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Society in 2005. Diamond tries to uncover the answers to the perplexing question: why have some cultures/countries acquired so much wealth while others have struggled?

Many theories have been put forward, but Diamond’s theory is succinct yet eloquent; it was because of guns, germs and steel. Diamond looks at the types of crops and domesticated animals that could sustain a population. The ability to feed a growing population cannot be overstated because it allows for specialization to develop. Experimentation along with trial and error can produce innovations, such as the manipulation of steel into swords and the introduction of guns.

One must also not forget the debilitating impact that micro-organisms have had on the advancement of countries. Diseases, such as small pox and malaria, are analyzed at great depth in this documentary.

What ties all of this together is geography. Some populations were luckier than others to be located in places such as ‘the fertile crescent’.

There are some who may state that the theory is too simplified. However, support for this simplistic theory can be found by using Occam’s razor, which states, that the simplest explanation is more likely to be accurate. Diamond’s complicated research has produced a wonderfully succinct explanation on the inequality that has taken place since the dawn of time.


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