Listen free for 30 days

Listen with offer

  • Guns, Germs and Steel

  • The Fate of Human Societies
  • By: Jared Diamond
  • Narrated by: Doug Ordunio
  • Length: 16 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,667 ratings)

$0.00 for first 30 days

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection - including bestsellers and new releases.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, celeb exclusives, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.
Guns, Germs and Steel cover art

Guns, Germs and Steel

By: Jared Diamond
Narrated by: Doug Ordunio
Try for £0.00

£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.

Buy Now for £16.99

Buy Now for £16.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Listeners also enjoyed...

The Third Chimpanzee cover art
Why Nations Fail cover art
The Selfish Gene cover art
Bison and People on the North American Great Plains cover art
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution cover art
Unbound cover art
Disunited Nations cover art
The End of the World Is Just the Beginning cover art
Upheaval cover art
Big Ratchet cover art
First Peoples in a New World cover art
The Absent Superpower cover art
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World cover art
The Better Angels of Our Nature cover art
Lesser Beasts cover art
Never out of Season cover art

Summary

Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 1998

Guns, Germs and Steel examines the rise of civilization and the issues its development has raised throughout history.

Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology. Diamond also dissects racial theories of global history, and the resulting work—Guns, Germs and Steel—is a major contribution to our understanding the evolution of human societies.

©1997 Jared Diamond (P)2011 Random House
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Guns, Germs and Steel

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    990
  • 4 Stars
    465
  • 3 Stars
    149
  • 2 Stars
    42
  • 1 Stars
    21
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    762
  • 4 Stars
    368
  • 3 Stars
    161
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    22
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    824
  • 4 Stars
    340
  • 3 Stars
    131
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    18

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A Magnum Opus - in every sense.

This is a "magnum opus" in all senses of the phrase, and deserved winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The question at the centre of the book is one asked by a New Guinea tribesman "How did your culture and peoples come to dominate us?", and the book opens with the defeat of several thousand Mayan warriors and their God-King, by a few hundred Spanish Conquistadors, armed with guns. Diamond rightly rejects the 19th Century explanation that white Europeans are innately superior, citing examples of the often greater inventiveness, adaptability and intelligence of "aboriginal" peoples. Dismissed too are notions of superior culture (e.g. Niall Fergason's 6 "killer apps" in his book "Civilisation"). Diamond instead looks to geography, and natural history for explanations. We conquered other continents, because we carried more lethal diseases (germs), and had better technology (guns & steel). This in turn was because the continent of Eurasia has many more animals and plants that could be domesticated, carried more diseases (to which we developed immunity) and that both of these, along with cultural advances, spread more easily East-West along similar temperate zones, leading to our earlier abandonment of hunter-gatherer lifestyles, in favour of farming, specialisation and technological advancement. Though the book paints a broad brush history, it delves very specifically into details of the development and clashes among numerous world cultures, and the evidence left to us today in language, technology, lifestyle, diseases and diet. Sometimes, the level of detail he goes into becomes almost overwhelming. The narration is very clear and concise, but the intonation is sometimes flat, and I found myself drifting off at times. It would have been great if the author had narrated it himself. In summary, this is a major and important work, but a long and sometimes difficult book. It is hard, but well worth the effort, if you, like me, seek to understand how and why we got here.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book

this is great books based on facts helps to understand great questions like why Africans did not come to Europe in ships.
Great factors in evolution of humans explaining how we got here

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very informative (possibly too much)

it was a little difficult to keep all names and historical figures in my head while listening to this book. the overall information does however contain great insight into the development of the modern world

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good book

please let people hear this book read by a person that is awake. it is actually difficult to listen to so much detail and keep alert. the right lecturer would help. the author has a strong point but does little to falsify alternative theories that he belittles. also the role of China boils down to political centralism as a cause and the analysis of this important issue, from the outset, is left without much analysis.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting

Excellent content but personally I found it too academic with too much detail so it was difficult to take in and concentrate,

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Really interesting take on World history

Jared Diamond approaches World History in a refreshing and entirely original way in this work. Rather than looking simply at what happened or even why it happened, he goes right back to first principles to examine why the circumstances arose that led to peoples of one part of the World essentially dominating the others. I think the macro view is a little simplistic but it is undeniably compelling and a strong counter-argument to more reductionist arguments of racial superiority or cultural differences.

I listen to a lot of history books on Audible and few, if any, have brought to light as many new realisations about the World. Not so much telling me things I didn't already know but highlighting the importance of facts that I was already aware of.

It has to be said that it is not a perfect work and Jared Diamond's ego does get in the way somewhat. He simply can't resist interposing his personal experience and special insights into the narrative rather than simply let the story stand on it's own. A certain number of these personal anecdotes would be fine but it feels at times like he is desperate for the reader/listener to acknowledge just how special and clever his insights are and how uniquely positioned he is to draw them.

Overall a really interesting and engaging listen but I can see how the writer's style might really grate with some.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Insightful book

I found the book very insightful and informative. Jared Diamond asks and offers proposed answers to many questions that ran through my mind regarding discrepancies development processes in early human societies.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

More accurate than the bible

A brilliant foolproof guide to the history of man. Papua new Guinea probably gets a few too many mentions is the only fault.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential book.

Many good points on the evolution of human societies. Quite repetitive at certain points, though still worth 5 stars overall

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stop what you are doing and listen to this book!

This book is important!

A brilliantly written (and read) book that covers so much, but does it in a clear way that makes you go "huh, makes sense"

Despite the indepth analysis conducted by Jared Diamond, the book does not feel too stuffy or academic. the wonderful examples used help bring the material to life and kept me listening.

A highly addictive read that will give keep you glued whilst also giving you some wonderful facts and trivia to drop in conversation.q

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!