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A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years. Winner of the Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.

This book answers the most obvious, the most important, yet the most difficult question about human history: why history unfolded so differently on different continents. Geography and biogeography, not race, moulded the contrasting fates of Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, sub-Saharan Africans, and aboriginal Australians.

An ambitious synthesis of history, biology, ecology and linguistics, Guns, Germs and Steel is one of the most important and humane works of popular science.


The most absorbing account on offer of the emergence of a world divided between have and have-nots... Never before put together so coherently, with such a combination of expertise, charm and compassion

The Times

A book of remarkable scope... One of the most important and readable works on the human past


A prodigious, convincing work, conceived on a grand scale


This is the book that turned me from a historian of medieval warfare into a student of humankind

Yuval Noah Harari, Week

Fascinating, coherent, compassionate and completely accessible

Sunday Telegraph

A book of big questions, and big answers

Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens

Monumental and monumentally good

William Leith, 4 stars, Scotsman

Diamond's sideways-on view of human development may well establish its author as one of the very few scientists to have changed the way we think about history

Sunday Telegraph

A book of big questions, and big answers

Yuval Noah Harari, Geographical

One of the best books I've reviewed this year.

Lucille Turner, Bookmunch

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 3, 1998


    480 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Jared Diamond

The World Until Yesterday
The Rise And Fall Of The Third Chimpanzee


The Gene
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The God Delusion
The Grand Design
The Power of Habit
A Very Short History of the World
The Body Keeps The Score
A Zero Waste Life
The Vietnam War
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
The Order of Time
I Contain Multitudes
The Price Of Altruism