illustrated profile of a man spitting in the same direction that a pistol and three steel bars are pointing

Guns, Germs, and Steel

by Jared Diamond
Start Free Trial

Do you think Diamond is a historian, geographer, biologist, anthropologist, archaeologist, or zoologist? Explain,

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Diamond is trained as an physiologist, an evolutionary biologist, and a geographer. He has no formal training as an historian, but his approach in Guns, Germs, and Steel can certainly be categorized as that of an environmental historian. Many critics of the book, in fact, were environmental historians who claimed...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Diamond is trained as an physiologist, an evolutionary biologist, and a geographer. He has no formal training as an historian, but his approach in Guns, Germs, and Steel can certainly be categorized as that of an environmental historian. Many critics of the book, in fact, were environmental historians who claimed that Diamond underplayed human agency in his attempt to show the importance of geography in human development. His next popular book, Collapse, demonstrated that he had, indeed, thought a lot about the interaction between culture and the environment. So Diamond has certainly become what could be called an environmental historian, a field which is beginning to attract more and more trained historians as well as a few natural and social scientists.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this book, Diamond is being a historian.  Diamond is drawing on all of the disciplines you mention to find the evidence for his theories.  This is what historians do.  Historians need to find evidence from any discipline that is relevant.  Therefore, Diamond is being a historian who draws from the findings of the other disciplines you mention.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
A good history writer should be all of these things you mention. One of the reasons that Diamond's theories are so interesting and compelling is that they are so intricate. They cross many disciplines to explain complex phenomenon. For example, there is not way to disconnect history and geography. A people are influenced by where they are. Anthropology and archeology are disciplines that lead to history. It is from studying artifacts and culture that we learn about the past. People are heavily influenced by the creatures and germs they interact with.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team