Please help me find two pieces of evidence from each chapter (Chapter 10 and on) of Guns, Germs, and Steel that support Diamond's thesis.

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Posted on (Answer #1)

On this site, we are only allowed to answer one question at a time.  Therefore, I will give you two pieces of evidence from Chapter 10 and will try to give you hints about how to find evidence in other chapters.

To begin with, you need to understand what Diamond’s thesis is.  In this book, Diamond is trying to prove that Europeans came to dominate the world because of geographic luck.  Geography allowed some peoples to develop agriculture sooner.  This gave them the ability to become civilized first.  Being civilized first made them more powerful.  Thus, we need to find evidence that will tend to support this theory.

The basic idea of Chapter 10 is that it is easier for crops to diffuse from one part of a continent to another if the continent has an east-west axis.  This means that people living on such continents do not all have to domesticate plants on their own.  This makes it easier for them to all have food production and, thereby, civilization.  One piece of evidence for this can be found on p. 179 of the paperback edition of the book.  There, Diamond tells us that genetic analysis proves that important domesticated crops in the Americas were domesticated independently in different areas of the land mass.  The crops were not able to diffuse because of the north-south axis of the Americas.  By contrast (this is the second piece of evidence), pp. 182-3 tell us that the “founder crops” from the Fertile Crescent were only domesticated once and then spread from that region across Eurasia.

To find evidence in other chapters, ask yourself what things in those chapters would tend to prove that geographic luck led to agriculture which led to civilization and power.  Look for evidence that shows how agriculture allowed societies to develop things like writing or technology.


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