"Guns, Germs, and Steel" is a very gripping and informative read! Jared Diamond won the Pulitzer for this work of non-fiction in 1998, and it’s clear why he did. He propounds a theory that ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel’ have determined ‘the fate of human society’ so far, and he sets out to prove this theory by taking the reader to various social structures in ancient times and the recent past, and then analyzing them to see why they evolved the way they did.
Diamond employs an interesting style while taking the reader on an information gathering quest. He frames some very intriguing questions within the prologue, the answers to which constitute his book. Examples would be: "Why did Europeans reach and conquer the lands of Native Americans, instead of vice-versa?" ..."Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents?"Diamond divides his book into four section, the last of which has chapter headings that are again questions that keep the reader's curiosity alive right until he turns that last page. For example: "How Africa became black?"... "How did China become Chinese?" These questions from the last section of the book definitely whetted my imagination, and I wanted answers.
The questioning in the book is relentless! Diamond has numerous riveting questions interspersed in his 440 page narrative, perhaps a strategy to diffuse the monotony of a non fiction read. What reader could resist a question like "Why were Europeans rather than Africans or Native Americans the ones to end up with guns, the nastiest germs , and steel?", or, "Why among Eurasians, was it Europeans rather than Chinese or some other group that expanded?". Given the basic human need to seek rational explanations to the reality that surrounds, the following questions did just that, and could keep any reader going until he got an answer: "Why do commoners tolerate the transfer of the fruit of their hard labor to kleptocrats?"; "How did small, non-centralized, kin-based societies evolve into large centralized in which most members are not closely related to each other?...what impelled societies thus to transform themselves?". Given that we live in a world today that is so polarized along the lines of religion and national identities, a premise such as, " The combination of government and religion has thus functioned, together with germs, writing, and technology, as one of the four main sets of proximate agents leading to history's broadest pattern," would certainly grab our attention, especially if it were followed by this question, "How did government and religion arise?"
Jared Diamond has capitalized on his interrogatory skills, and has delivered a thoroughly irresistible read that expostulates his theory on human society.