Guns, Germs, and Steel

Guns, Germs, and Steel

2005, History  -   139 Comments
Ratings: 7.48/10 from 182 users.

Guns, Germs, and SteelBased on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years – from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century. Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality.

Why were Europeans the ones to conquer so much of our planet? Why didn’t the Chinese, or the Inca, become masters of the globe instead? Why did cities first evolve in the Middle East? Why did farming never emerge in Australia? And why are the tropics now the capital of global poverty?

As he peeled back the layers of history to uncover fundamental, environmental factors shaping the destiny of humanity, Diamond found both his theories and his own endurance tested.

The three one-hour programs were filmed across four continents on High Definition digital video, and combined ambitious dramatic reconstruction with moving documentary footage and computer animation. They also include contributions from Diamond himself and a wealth of international historians, archeologists and scientists.

Guns, Germs, and Steel is a thrilling ride through the elemental forces which have shaped our world – and which continue to shape our future.

Episodes included: 1. Out of Eden, 2. Conquest, and 3. Tropics.

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139 Comments / User Reviews

  1. anyone else cant find part 3

  2. but why are those papuans "poor"? they live in nature, are happy and have all they need to live and are free. I'd say they are richer than most westerners

  3. anyone else get really freaked out by the audio or is it just my computer making it sound weird

  4. Great. I use this in my class called Culture and Cusine.

  5. What was the film about?

  6. Good work from Jarod. However, am bothered by him stating that civilizations emerged from the "fertile crescent" and 13 of the 14 domesticated animals originated in the same place, which he calls "Eden". Science disproves this! the oldest known human remains were discovered in areas around the great African rift valley. the oldest known astronomical objects -the nabta playa megaliths- are found in the same place.
    So if we abide by science, domestication of animals and the first human settlements took place in this place.
    Why then would a man like profesor Jarod ignore this simple fact, unless there is a hidden agenda with his research? any answers out there, folks?

    1. Civilization meaning when people started living in cities, creating and enforcing laws, using money etc...yes the rift valley was a starting point for our species...but he is absolutely correct by saying 'civilization' began in the fertile Mesopotamia, Sumeria etc.

  7. In my mind there is no question that in broad terms Diamond has nailed it. The march of western civilization has primarily benefited from fortunate geography and related circumstances, What could have been more beneficial then stumbling into two continents in 1492 that in less than 200 years became depopulated to the point that we could expand and exploit a brand new ecosystem with vast natural resources and be allowed to develop virtually unchallenged for the last 200+ years? I think we we would do well to realize that "American exceptional ism" is as much a product of geography as it is ideology.

  8. At 52:30:"If your people enjoyed the same geographic advantages as my people, your people would have been to invent helicopters."

    I doubt that

    1. I actually thought he meant the people with advantages are the ones who would have the abilities to invent all machinery which eventually led up to the invention of the helicopter.

  9. also, actually reading the book and comprehending the overall concept is key!!!

  10. To all...most of your "arguments" support his "east-west" landmass opposed to the "south-north" land mass...but, the fact remains...and history remains....Eurasia....was the key (including ALL of that huge "west -east" land mass)

  11. how do i watch episode 2?

  12. Great documentary, a lot of the arguments certainly hold a lot of weight. I suppose Guns Germs and Steel is far more marketable than the real key elements he argues for: Grass and Goats.

  13. This book/show is the ultimate antidote against racist explanations for why things are the way they are in the world. Everyone should read/listen to the book and watch the programs.

    1. It's only the antidote to those who have already made up their mind.
      Truly open minded people would take a look at the facts and infer a conclusion, Diamond takes a preconceived notion and looks for the "facts" to support the conclusion.

      This method is effective on people that want to believe and people not capable of seeing the logical fallacy.

    2. Yeah, you sound very open minded. This book is made for people like you, but you've already decided you know it all.

    3. He's readily acknowledges that he's not willing to accept racist explanations. Then he tries to find the most reasonable non-racist explanation. I thought he was quite honest about how he did it. As to the racist explanations, I thought these were quite unlikely based upon my own experience with people: I've never noticed a significant difference in the intelligence of people based upon race. What do scientists say about racial explanation for differences in what people accomplished? Almost all who have studied the subject have come to the same conclusion: We don't know enough about humans to show that one race is more or less intelligent than others. I do wish he had discussed more the difficulties science has in evaluating racial explanations.

      Diamond never proves people of Eurasian origins are not smarter than others, although he speculates people from New Guinea are more intelligent. However, he provides an explanation for the differences in human accomplishments and who conquered who which fits very well with the historical facts. I find his case compelling.

      There is no logical fallacy in looking for facts to support one's preconceived notions. It's often not a good idea. However, if one takes a preconceived notion and supports it sufficiently strong argument, there is no logical fallacy.

    4. Scientist say race is a social construct.

  14. One major area this documentary dint cover was the Indians and Chinese were a global power around 1000 AD, but they dint end up being imperial because culturally hinduism and Buddhism had a lot of teachings of avoiding greed and 'unlawful' occupation. Infact they were the first to invent gunpowder, use steel and also have large fleet of ships.

    1. It had less to do with pacifist teachings and a lot more to do with the mongols, and how they ran amok in that exact same area a (historically) short while after 1000 AD, curbing any chance the indians and chinese may have had for global imperialism. Primitive gunpowder weapons and large fleets did little against mongol cavalry and superior siege tactics/equipment.

    2. Anand is right, Mongols never interacted with India! Infact the Cholas of South India had expanded their prowess till Indonesia but let these countries be independent and did not capture/colonize them. Powerful kings like Ashoka turned to buddhism and gave up conquesting!

  15. some of you have a real chip on your shoulders. this documentary is based on scientific data=theory, which means that is not proven and ultimately based on belief just like anything else. Get a grip!!

    1. In science a theory is essentially a done deal. Peer reviewed and widely accepted, testable, and predictive. Not so out here in the lay world where theory means conjecture. Diamond has offered a hypothesis. A pretty damn solid one for my money.

  16. Hello. We have a lot of documentary films in spanish. Happy New Year!!!

  17. This documentary is FAR better than the book: easier to get through, clearer, and more interesting. Thanks, whoever made this.

    1. It's definitely more colorful; but I could have done without the repetition of things, i.e., the "Ken Burns Effect." It's unnecessary.

    2. It certainly was easier to follow the documentary as opposed to the book. It's hard to miss the point of the documentary, regardless of whether you agree with Diamond.

      Most people won't read the book. I suspect many more people watched the documentary. However, the book contains much more information and explanation.

      If someone has read the book, watching the documentary won't add much even in terms of a refresher.

  18. I love this book is a great part ofHistory!!

  19. I thing is History and History is that History!! I do respect that great book.

  20. Any history that tells of Europe being invaded? Asia, Africa, America, Australia all had invaders ..... Wonder why this point wasn't mentioned? Irrelevant?

  21. Out of Eden'? is that really the name of the first segment.

  22. Its quite simple: the Fertile Crescent is the Promised land that the Israelites were lead to by Moses after they were enslaved in Egypt - "The land flowing with milk and honey." The greatest civilizations throughout time were believers. Christianity is responsible for later thriving cultures and flourishing in the New World.

    1. I'm sorry, but if you think people in Europe were so advanced because "God said so", you're just talking out your ass. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a believer, and God willed things to happen the way they have, but Believe it or not, there were people who were not christian in europe that made contributions to the advancement of europe. While God willed things to happen the way they have, It's a little more complicated than that. This Diamond fellow is looking to see how it happened, not just the "God said so" answer. If we still used that for everything we'd still think the world is only a few thousand years old, dinosaurs are a hoax, and we wouldn't live much longer than 50

    2. What a surprise, another person putting words in my mouth. You people love to set up your own straw man and argue with it. You act as if I said "God said so"... where and when did I say that? Where and when did I say non- Christians did not make any contributions? By the way, St. John the Apostle ( you know... he wrote one of the Gospels?) He lived until he was in his 90s.

    3. The Crescent was Fertile long before Israel or Israelites existed. You are simply wrong here.

      How was Christianity responsible for China, the Aztecs, Maya, Ghana, or anywhere else BC?

    4. When and where did I say "Christianity was responsible for China, the Aztecs, Maya, or Ghana"? Show me where. FYI Judaism is the foundation of the Christian faith. Christians believe in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

    5. You need to learn how to add. The fertile crescent was inhabited 15,000 years ago - long before monotheism was dreamed up. The Egyptian civilisation didn't even exist when the fertile crescent was still fertile. But then again, I know you don't care, and I don't care that you don't care, just keep your BS hocus pocus in private, out of schools, and make your thieving organisation pay taxes, then we won't have a problem.

    6. Monotheism is belief in One God, the God that always was and is for all time... even 15,000 years ago. Not one that was "dreamed up." When did I say the Fertile Crescent was not inhabited at that time? Never said that. When God led the Israelites into the Promised land during the time of Moses, that land was in fact inhabited. The Israelites drove them out.

    7. Yes, I know what Christians (and Jews and Muslims) believe. Your god was always there, etc etc. I'm talking about reality and evidence, something entirely different. You are claiming that monotheism existed 15,000 years ago, but there's no evidence of this. Saying "Christians (etc) believe it existed 15,000 years ago" is not evidence of anything. Whatever claims your holy book of choice makes, there's another one that makes contradictory claims and is equally valid, that's why you need this thing called "evidence".

    8. You quote "Christians (etc) believe it existed 15,000 years ago." Who exactly are you quoting? You have arguments with yourself. I said that God existed for all time. Montheism is just a term created by human beings that means belief in one God. What is your hard evidence on which you base your belief system? Why do you dismiss what has been recorded in the Bible by over 40 different authors in 73 books in over 4,000 years? Do you think all those authors and books are a scam? That somehow Abraham telepathically schemed things up with Moses, Elijah, and Jesus? How does it all fit together so well?

    9. YOU said that god has always existed, and thus it existed 15,000 years ago. You are the one making all these wild claims with no evidence whatsoever. I'm simply pointing out that you don't have any evidence and thus your claims are irrelevant.

      I don't need any "hard evidence" because I don't believe in anything for which there's not an appropriate level of evidence. To put it another way, I don't "believe" and then look for evidence, I absorb evidence and let that craft my beliefs. For example, if I go to buy a used car and they guy says it works fine, I'd like to test that claim by starting it and taking it for a drive before I believe the claim. If someone says they're in contact with aliens, that's fine, present some evidence and I'll take a look at it. If someone has an invisible friend (like you), that's perfectly fine, if you show me an appropriate level of evidence I'll believe in your imaginary friend too. So far you have shown nothing.

      Game of thrones is far superior to the Bible. Many more people's perspectives involved and it fits together far more cleanly. Someone writing stories is not evidence, and in any case it's pretty clear that the bible was written by the Romans to control a tumultuous Jewish province, "believe what you want, just pay taxes and turn the other cheek".

    10. Relax, JRushnik. You are the one talking about evidence. Just read your last two comments. I believe because I have felt God's love for me personally. I allowed myself to feel it. That's all you have to do. Don't go through life never knowing or feeling His love for you ... that would be a shame.
      “Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand” St. Augustine.

    11. I think Christianity plunged us into the dark ages, enlightenment rationalism brought us the industrial revolution.

  23. Diamond's major weakness, apart from the unproven assumptions of materialism, is its ignorance of ancient culture and the origins of the West. Diamond's environmental determinism can not explain why the ancient Greek city-states, possessing pretty much the same climate, geography, and species of plants and animals as did the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, nonetheless created what those older, more sophisticated civilizations did not: representative government, citizenship, philosophy, a rational approach to reality, political freedom, the beginnings of science, humanism—in short, most of the cultural components of Western civilization that have made it so dominant and that the rest of the world is desperately attempting to emulate.

    To wit: How did the Ptolemies create an even more dynamic civilization than that of the earlier dynastic pharaohs, when they inherited from them a supposedly exhausted and increasingly salinized landscape? Or why did the palatial culture of Mycenae prove to be a dead-end society, and yet the radically different Greek city-state centuries later blossomed in the exact same environment? More immediately, are we to suppose that there are underappreciated micro-climates that separate Tijuana from San Diego, strangely different soils on the two immediate sides of the Korean DMZ, and something about those ever-changing lagoons of Venice that made it irrelevant in late Roman times, a world power in 1500, and once again a backwater by 1850? Did the environment of Britain improve from A.D. 400 to 1700 while Rome’s declined, thus explaining why the former outpost of the Western world became its new center and vice versa?

    Quotes from Victor Davis Hanson.

    1. Yet despite the efforts of the Greeks, in the 1200s China and Muslim countries were far more advanced than Europe. I find his explanation persuasive as to why Eurasian people came to dominate others. He does not, except in the epilogue, attempt to explain why Europeans other than other Eurasians were the conquerors.

      Diamond's philosophy does not explain why the ancient Greeks instead of other ancient people made certain advances. However, his theory does not provide a reason for doing so. He does not assert that geographic differences explain the history of the world.

  24. Location, location, location...Could it really be that simple...?In many ways his conclusions made a lot of sense to me...hmmm...

  25. First script were found in Vinca (Serbia), and it is seven to nine thausand years old. So this clame that Sumerian had first script is incorrrect.

    1. The best that can be said for the Vinca symbols is that they were proto-writing that represented ritualistic ideas, for the pottery they appeared on were often associated with religious objects and remained constant with little change. More often, the objects with the symbols were discarded by the people of the Vinca culture. A sixth of the symbols appear possibly to be numerical in purpose. Since the symbols never really developed into a full-blown writing system that spread beyond its origins, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Sumerian achievement as the oldest writing system.

  26. The map of Spain's colonies in 1535 (at 5:00 in episode 2) somehow mysteriously excludes the western half of what is now the U.S., and instead shows a map of the U.S.-Mexico border which did not come into existence until 1848, after Mexico's independence from Spain. I would have expected more accurate maps from National Geographic...

  27. theyre "incas" not "inkas"... hes assuming that you know at least some basic information about world history. Can you really not figure out how plants and animals spread? Do you have a middle school education? Its called trade.. and are you really asking why civilization in Europe was started...?

    1. "Civilization" that should be plural, many civilzations existed at the same time, what I don't get is why people once they developed a surplus and some prosperity started a heirarchial type of society and why this need to conquer others. Jared completely eviscerates class from his analysis which I think would be just as valuable. Now that we have the technical ability to produce enough to sustain everyone, it is neither geography or germs or geography that is driving the whole it is class-all of our victories from class struggles are now being reversed the world over and we will all be serfs except for the few. No doubt Diamond gets his projects funded and is held in such esteem not so much for the power of his ideas but for the fact that they provide an opposing view to class as the motor of historical change i.e. it is anti Marxist.

    2. in original it is inka

    3. This documentary is too comprehensive and self explainery and it better than the book: easier to get through, clearer, and more interesting. Through this documentry, we may know ups and down of society and slow and gradually development of human. Thanks

  28. Please stop sounding foolish and read the source material. Being both ignorant AND arrogant, while hilarious, is not helpful. Diamond wrote another book called 'Collapse' which deals quite nicely with your Viking problem.

    Actually, I doubt many of the 'intellectual powerhouses' represented by 'docall18' could make it through the beginning chapters of Guns Germs and Steel, simply because of the, ahhhh, boring academic analysis and lack of moving pictures to help demystify the meaning of all those big words.

  29. Give me a break. So the papa new guineans still live in the stone age because they spend too much time hunting because the country hasnt any agricultural ability. What about its pigs and deer, aswell as its huge diversity of flora.
    Look the vikings 100years ago. Their environment wasnt ideal yet they had technically sophisticated ships, metal-work and agriculture.

    His explaination why the incas also were stone age, and didnt invent writing, the wheel etc is lame . Or why it was only Europeans, not Indians, Japanese, Chinese who expanded.

    He failed to mention the European culture which was the major influential on war and expansion. Or religion, or human intellect and ability. Yes, natural selection is different when you major concern is running after prey somewhere warm and trying to survive in a colder climate.

    1. Please stop sounding foolish and read the source material. Being both ignorant AND arrogant, while hilarious, is not helpful. Diamond wrote another book called 'Collapse' which deals quite nicely with your Viking problem.

      Actually, I doubt many of the 'intellectual powerhouses' represented by 'docall18' could make it through the beginning chapters of Guns Germs and Steel, simply because of the, ahhhh, boring academic analysis and lack of moving pictures to help demystify the meaning of all those big words.

    2. You obviousy didn't read the book. You failed!

    3. He didn't even watch the document carefully.

  30. Just a quick note to everyone who commented on the historical discontinuity of the documentary - please, keep in mind Jared Diamond's book is much more all-encompassing than the documentary. I think they did a great job at trying to jam in as much as possible from the book but it is hard not to miss some important points. The book makes it very clear from the first pages that it not a historical summary of human civilizations or a detailed research on how each civ. evolved but rather a high-level attempt to answer the key point on "Why was it that certain parts of the World evolved with one pace and others - with another?". It is written in wide brushes and certainly leaves much to speculation. It doesn't answer all the questions in the subject domain and the author makes it very clear he is fully aware of some of the difficulties still in need to be reconciled with his main points. It then becomes clear why some aspects (e.g. Indian civilization) were not elevated to the front pages (If I recall it correctly, India is reviewed in the book but not in as great detail as China, Europe or Americas). I think Jared D. has done an excellent job by taking many well known individual facts and combining them under a common umbrella - a major abstract pattern of how human civilizations evolve.

  31. A good documentary, but I still have some questions:

    1. First off, why was it European powers, not Asian or Middle Eastern or African who conquered the Americas and Australasia?
    2. Why do civilizations rise and fall? Before the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the subsequent rise of the West, the Chinese, the Muslims, the Hindus and the Mongols all had a period of ruling the world. Why did they lose it?
    3. African/Asian societies often did have similar technology if not better than Europeans during the Middle Ages. Why did they not advance more?

    Aside from this, it was a good doc and I do not entirely agree that civilizational differences didn't play a role, but it's a good argument.

    I actually wondered myself when walking around the streets of Toronto, an ethnically diverse mosaic. People of Eurasian descent are the majority population in essentially every region of the world except sub Saharan Africa. I always wanted to know why and how this happened?

    1. FIrst of all, African societies did NOT have the same technology. With the exception of the Zulu people, the VAST majority of Africans had to access to steel and really didn't have advanced technology or nearly as complex state societies.

      As for Asian societies, I'm not entirely sure yet (I'm currently in Jared's class)

    2. Asian societies such a China were very advanced during the Middle Ages. China was the most powerful and rich country in East Asia by far, and after it defeated the Mongols, they had no threats to their power, so they could sit back and relax. In Europe, there were lots of countries that were equally powerful and rich, so they had to develop better technologies to defeat other countries for more power and money.

    3. I'll answer question number 3 in part: In the book, he makes clear that he includes North Africa in Eurasia because the people there soon gained access to domesticated grains and animals. He attempts only in the epilogue to explain why Europeans came to dominate the world instead of the Chinese. He doesn't discuss North Africans nor other Asians. Simply put, his theory did not attempt to explain how specific Eurasians (a category that in his definition includes North Africans) rather than others came to dominate the world.

      I realize my answer to question 3 "answers" (or doesn't answer) questions 1 and 2 answer: He doesn't attempt to explain those.

  32. I still do not understand why Papuans remained stoneage peoples. Anyone visiting Papua-New Guinea would be surprised how abundant the place is, I mean anything grows, it is just that the locals seem to be idle. Once I talked to a Russian officer who was stationed in Ethiopia sometime back in the 70's. He said he grew tomatoes and all kinds of vegetables there. He advised the locals to grow, instead of always ask for it, but they declined. I mean, why certain nations seem to be idle, while others try to keep busy?
    I also lived 6 months in a Madagascar jungle and literally anything grew, yet the natives never bothered to cultivate anything. They just foraged until there was nothing left and then went hungry until the rainy season came. Not much foresight at all. Anyway, the doc does not explain this, instead goes on about the lack of calories...There is banana and coconut in Papua and also they used to eat each other. I would not call that a lack of calories. They did have their veggies and meat.

    1. The problem is they didn't have tomatoes there. Nor animals that could pull a plough or provide milk.

  33. An interesting documentary with a point of view which he has a right to.

    It is not the only one,however. Nothing, for instance, was mentioned about the long historic conflict between nomadic and settled peoples, which has not always been to the advantage of the latter.

    Also he and the camera backed up his argument with strong appeals to the emotions, playing on guilt and victimization. That opens up the question, can there be a detached sciebtific view or are we simply victims of the arguments that press the right buttons.

    There is danger in just blindy accepting things.

    A similar documentary where people are in an expansionist phase would play on sense of destiny, often divinely sanctioned, and altruism with justified violence to those less blessed.

    Perhaps we need a them and us theory?

    1. I think you're seeking someone that doesn't exist: Someone who doesn't have a perspective.

      I did notice the lack of any discussion of conflicts between farmers and nomadic herders. The Mongols, a group of herders, were able to create the second largest empire in history and the largest contiguous empire in history.

      It's quite hard to justify what Europeans did to the Indians and their enslavement of many Africans. He does actually, in both the book and documentary, portray Europeans as believing they were divinely sanctioned. It's just hard for us as modern people to accept such racist, self-serving explanations.

  34. In did it happened.

  35. This is an amazing documentary, but a question comes immediately to me when the americans were infected by germs, why didn't it happend the other way? Why the europeans didn't got sick in Africa or America? I suppose africans adapted too to their own germs because they domesticated animals as europeans did.

    1. This is largely due to the fact that Europeans had such a long history and relationship with domesticated animals (cow, sheep, goat, pig, etc) and diseases commonly adapted from the animals to humans. In the Americas, they only had a few diseases because they DIDNT have the same experience with livestock. Europeans probably didn't get sick in Africa because many of the animals that were there they had already had contact with (and in the case of N Africa, the close proximity). However, it was indeed hard for them to settle in Africa due to diseases like Malaria and Yellow Fever.

    2. Native Americans hardly have any diseases, as they also didn't have domesticated animals. Domesticated animals and high density populations were the reasons diseases spread to humans and all over Europe.

  36. brillant doc and very detailed regarding the geographical aspects. i profoundly admire his 30 years of research and commitment he dedicates in order to inform the viewer about the origins of european wealth and prosperity.

  37. I think that ships played a big role in European dominance as well. The Europeans were able to get to the other places, and the people in the other places were not able to get to Europe. European ship-building technology had to be a big factor.

  38. Jojo Darling ,you sound you had an eye opener class ,could we know what it is?


  39. This documentary is so good, expect for that one part I know about better than Jared Diamond, so then I'm like, "God! Every since I took that class, I know a whole lot about that one place, and I'm of the opinion that Dr. Diamond should pay a whole lot more attention to that one place that I know about 'cuz I took that class that one time, and Jared Diamond is much less of a scholar because he didn't talk about that one place enough!" Being educated is such a torture, you know, because you just know all the stuff that 99% of the population doesn't know, and it's just frustrating that they don't know it, because you do and you wish they did too so you could talk on the same level, you know? Totally.

  40. This documentary is so good, expect for that one part I know about better than Jared Diamond, so then I'm like, "God! Every since I took that class, I know a whole lot about that one place, and I'm of the opinion that Dr. Diamond should pay a whole lot more attention to that one place that I know about 'cuz I took that class that one time, and Jared Diamond is much less of a scholar because he didn't talk about that one place enough!" Being educated is such a torture, you know, because you just know all the stuff that 99% of the population doesn't know, and it's just frustrating that they don't know it, because you do and you wish they did too so you could talk on the same level, you know? Totally.

  41. This theory makes sense in that even the planet itself is in a particular location in an orbit around the sun that happens to be perfect for life to develop and evolve for a relatively long period of time. If life was to develop on a planet such as Saturn or something, it would not be as advanced us earthlings due to its climate. And the fact that it is made of gas. I mean sure life could develop, but;What kind of life would that be? Probably pretty insignificant. If you know what I'm sayin'.

  42. Interesting how geography was purposely left out of the title. I'm pretty sure 'guns, germs, and steel', were a smokescreen for what he was really proposing. "Geography". I mean everybody knows guns, germs, and steel affected indigenous societies greatly. Yet nobody really wants to say the planet earth as a "Planet" was not created equal. People prefer to attribute the success of a culture to its ingenuity. This guy knew he had to walk on egg shells.

  43. There are definitely a few contradictions, but the point was simply that Geography (natural resources, climate, physical landscape, disease, etc) had a lot to do with the success of certain peoples. Europeans have used Guns, Germs, and Steel to conquer, FACT. Jared Diamond does not exhibit colonial or patriarchal biases, Europeans did conquer those places, the question he tries to answer is how were they able to do so being that they were in no way more intelligent then other peoples around the world. Diamond goes to great lengths to show that all people are the same, it is our geographical location that has had the greatest influence in determining the way our modern world looks.

  44. Diamond's theories are based on the assumption that all peoples aspire to "conquer" other peoples. And due to geographical luck, some peoples were better equipped to realize these aspirations. This documentary exhibits bias towards colonial and patriarchal attitudes.

  45. Back-ground sound overcomes narator's instruction.Back and forth with volume control!

  46. As a person of African descent, this question really did plague me as a child. I grew up with the unspoken assumption that Europeans were simply smarter or somehow more superior, since no one could explain why our country was so poor and our governments so inept while Europe and America (or any country with caucasians, excluding Japan ans Sth Korea) were so advanced.
    This documentary was great. Of course I've since learned (and from watching Fox news as well as living in America) that if there is any superiority, its definitely not mental lol. There are lots of other factors of course besides guns, germs and steel. The development of a monetary economy, also began in the middle east and with it came POWER. Empires seemed to only rise in societies with a monetary system of some kind, and once your society runs on money, you have an enterprise.
    Once u have an entreprise, you have to expand. Grow the wealth. Grow the power.
    Even before the Europeans were conquering the known world, the Persians (Iran) were doing it, and before that the Babylonians (Iraq). There were also Phoenicians, Assyrians and a host of civilisations that had to expand and conquer or be conquered.
    Spain's venture into the New World had alot to do with the Spanish kingdoms financial demise. Thats why they had their infamous lust for gold. Monetary economies people. :-)

  47. Excellent documentary, but necessarily only a shadow of the book. I recommend those with objections read the book for the entire argument.

  48. Good one but... like all documentaries it did not go to the real question! inequality of what?!
    In development, in exploitation of others, in vanity of domination, in destroying the planet and each other? in ...., in ...., in what??... and in the bottom end what is civilization and why it is a good thing??
    Since we got "civilized" the downfall has started!
    Since we stopped being "primitive" hunters-gatherers we discover the power of "ownership" and "wealth" and we wanted more... together with the fact we had no longer a way to "invest" our imagination, ingenuity and aggression (as a hunter these are essential qualities) we started using these qualities against everything or everyone without reason and after the "killing" we were producing "arts" and "sciences" so we are civilized and proud and sleep peacefully... pff...
    ah! i forgot to mention one more important factor of our "civilization" religion and pray before sleeping :)

  49. I think they should say Guns, Germs and Steel more often in these docs.

    Seriously, I don't think they say that enough.

    It really took away from the experience for me.

  50. 13000 years last ''humanity’s journey''is spending too much time on the spanish conquest of inkas..nearlly whole episode..
    world civilization was born on the fertile crescent and from there it began to spread..then all of a sudden it became european civilization .. when? how? why ?there is not any explanation.. smt is missing..

  51. I really liked these videos.

    To those of you expecting a full break down of human civilization in 3 hours... get a grip.

  52. The book is much more detailed...the film is only an overview and misses a lot of interesting details

  53. Very ad hoc. I'm sure the examples are interesting if you don't already know them, but the disregard of any form of scientific method is near total.

    It's not unlike the ideologically opposite Spengler, though the latter uses more interesting and numerous examples. Someone should make Der Untergang des Abendlandes - the movie.

  54. My westren civ. 101 profesor is showing this film in class. I'm glad he did because that is how i found this site (looking to watch this doc. again)

    Any one ever heard the saying the simplest explination is usually right? It's quite simple Gods and skin color don't conquer people, superior weaponry does though... I think Diamond has come up with a sound theory.

  55. i believe some people have misunderstood diamond's purpose and thesis: it is NOT a comprehensive history of all civilizations.

    it IS an attempt to account, most of all, for the disparities which arose in the technological endowment of eurasia (all of it, including the indus valley and the far east), vs the americas & other remoter regions, such as new guinea. at least, having read the book and watched the doc, that's what i came away with.

    now, i might have missed something, but those who fault him for not including the japanese, etc., at great length, have missed the point more-or-less entirely.

    this study is, imo, primarily an anthropological analysis of eurasia and such regions, considered in their histories in isolation and, later, in contact. i believe diamond stakes this out in the preface to both the book and the doc.

    further, his explicitly stated thrust is to show that social, technological, immunological factors, as opposed to racial characteristics in accounting for the differing fortunes of these regions, the power relations which arose between them. its an explicit attempt to debunk racism with a rigorous analysis.

    if you were way off on this, you might consider whether you are actually reading what people say, as opposed to what you may already be thinking.

  56. Like most documentaries, Guns, Germs, and Steal is for entertainment.Sit back relax and enjoy this documentary. It is very interesting and entertaining. It does bring up some interesting points, but it is not in depth enough to really be educational. If you like this doc. then take some time to do a little research and learn for yourself. This is a good starting off point but you wont be an expert on anything by watching it.

    1. You should tell my 10th grade history teacher it's not educational ha

  57. I agree with a couple points of this Documentary... that Geography played a role in the success of certain peoples... it started an inertia towards knowledge and technology which begot more knowledge and technology... and enabled specialization. But this documentary as a whole is overly simplistic garbage. No mention of how Culture and Beliefs play a role. We humans are animals. We evolved. Why some people evolved faster than others probably has a lot to do with Geography. But it is not the only factor.

  58. For the most part, pretty good.

    This doc left out that Camels, Mamoths, and Horses used to exist in N.A. And also that caibou and elk live in N.A.

    1. Camels, Mamoths and horses dies out before people arrived to NA though.

  59. Jared Diamond is to be commended for his efforts to provide a visual documentary as a sequel to his book. He answered the question put to him from his work and thus his perspective. He took 30 years, according to his account, to provide some insight into the development of inequalities. He did so without impinging upon Christianity (except for the depiction of that minor confrontation between the priest of Pizarro and the Incan ruler). "The Bible and The Gun", a documentary done by Basil Davidson in the 1980's compliments this work in my opinion. It is refreshing to see Europeans address issues that most people seem to avoid.

  60. # 2 ... the Inca the constant theme of LACK OF EMPATHY be it for the farm animals or new cultures conquered shows the evidence trail of PYSCOPATHY , the use of the dirty tricks or teachings for the up and coming miliatary leaders shows the evidence of todays examples of CONFSUE AND CONQUER on the general population as a whole.

  61. The book goes into much more detail i recommend reading it.
    The North American Indians did not have horses until the Europeans arrived.

  62. This guy is very biased. His theory make no sense. Why North American Indians did not develop- they had the corn and other crops, they had horses???? I don't think his theory explains inequality in full. There must be something else in play.

    1. The Spanish introduced horses to North America.

  63. Good documentary! So it is geography not genetics or freewill that is the greatest determinate of history and inequality.

    1. Nor is it class that is the motor engine of history.....yet it seems to me once surplus was produced as well as great ideas we had some lording it over others and keeping knowledge from them....using religion superstion etc to keep their elite status whether this be as a Pharoh or a Sun God...Class and heirarchy are completely eviscerated in this thesis and it seems to me that capitalist class is doing quite a number on the entire world right now.

  64. I think there is sense and, in my opinion, much truth in what these films suggest, and they have certainly furthered my thinking.

    However, (bearing in mind I haven't read all of the book - I'm about half way through) it seems to include too many contradictions. Especially in this documentary, the argument stands up to casual scrutiny until we get to the African example and then seems to fall short.

    The predictable response to Guns, Germs and Steel is probably that the key factors involved are a mix of geographic and cultural, and I suspect Jared Diamond would concede as much.

    Nonetheless, a great documentary that rightly makes the point that global inequality is not due to any form of genetic superiority.

  65. good watch, but they kept repeating the words: "guns, germs and steel" up to the point that it's really really really annoying.

  66. For a scientist, he sure did elaborate on that question he was asked. But silly him. I also think that the man who asked him was trying to make him think of words like "greed", "evil", and "selfish".

  67. OK the first part answered the question "why do white have more cargo then New Guineans ?" That is the question asked. Emphasis on "white" VS "New Guineans".
    Then he got carried away and figured it was the same for the rest of world. It's his personal thoughts, but definitely not a theory. Geography as absolutely nothing to do with todays situation that's been going on since the "dark ages" around 600 ac.
    Like you said Rocky "it was a waste of time".

  68. @deboq

    Stealing? What do you mean? You think no one ever stole?

    This doc left out that Camels, Elephants and Horses used to exist in N.A.

    Super duper excellent Docu none the less.

  69. @deboq

    Stealing? What do you mean? You think no one ever stole?

    This doc left out that Camels, Elephants and Horses used to exist in N.A.

  70. The Zambian problem isn't complicated ... Kill the stinking mosquitoes.

  71. It is totaly normal that he could only touch a tiny portion of civilizations in his documentary. Only three hours could hardly fit all the civilizations that might differ from the exact ones used to make a point.
    The message though is clear and scientific nonetheless, if it is absolutely true is of course a matter of even more research as he suggests on his own.
    Knowing that there are people that naturaly believe Caucasians are genetically superior to African and Native American people this might be useful for them as a documentary to get a new view on things.
    About what rocky said, I am sorry but you didn't pay enough attention to the documentary. He said clearly the reason they were more protected from Malaria than the europeans was their LIFESTYLE before being enslaved and forced to live in cities. Living in tiny spread villages helped them stay healthier in the tropical lands. For exactly how that is possible just do some research on how Malaria and similar diseases spread.

  72. ...and just to add to xerox's comment, it also seems that some people are upset that he didn't reach the conclusion that caucasians are inherently evil...

  73. P.S. Outside the film Diamond does address why North Africa or East Asia didn't engage in the same types of colonialism as Europe, but they are not central to his theory and come after the fact of what he's discussing which is the ROOTS of inequality.

    1. The roots of inequality are the ability to produce a surplus and fight over who controls it. Today a small group of capitalist run the world the rest of us are being pushed into poverty whether you live in Africa or North America. Life is getting more bruttish instead of civilized everyday and we actually seem to foster this type of barbaric behavior through our media cultural icons mode of production...the question remains can the common man take over society for his and his neighbour's common good? I would like to ask Obama today a question he asked himself or so he told us on the campaign trail, "am I not my brother's keeper" If we are not we will have a third world war, and it will be the "West" vs China Russia and India....unless we get rid of the capitalist mode of production and get to a social order based on cooperation instead of competition and exploitation.

  74. It's only a 3 hour program, there is time constraints...jeez.

    I agree with xerox. Read Diamond's book and follow up work and his theory is a lot more complete.

    If you're not interested in analysis of "simple" sociological concepts like geographic determinism then don't watch this stuff. For many these are "duh, everybody know this" ideas, but does everyone THINK deeply and critically about them. That's the real point of it.

  75. Read his book, "Guns, Germs, and Steel", for detailed or missing information in this documentary. It appears that you did not like the fact that he did not reach the conclusion that Caucasians are superior to other races.

  76. nice ones!

  77. cheers to vlatko ... in a way u r helping the mankind itself..

  78. HEllO?

    To cover all thoes in such a short time?
    Is it even possible...?

    Maybe if the guy had more episodes to work with.
    This doc is juz some sort of a brief ans to the Qn pose to him abt 30yrs ago, so this is the answer to that Qn.

    And to cover all those different civilizations all those different times different type of ruling and culture and why why why?

    I agree that this doc is not "complete" in a sense but spare the guy a thought haha...

  79. The story of India with Michael Wood. a Romantic watch

  80. It's surprising that after Mesopotamia and Egyptian civilization(3100 BC) , the docu jumped to Chinese civilization which came quite later in 1600 BC!
    It simply ignored Indus valley(2500 BC) and Aegean civilization(2000 BC). Cotton, rice and sesame was three crops of great significance which originated in Indus valley!

  81. The documentary wasn't that bad. However, it did not touch some crutial points which were relevant to the topic. It was mentioned that middle easters were the first people to have a civilization.But, after having over exploited the territories, middle easterns had to leave with their plantations,and animals to the west and east; and due to the same geographical climat they could have rebuilt the same type of civilization which gave them a head start in the world to create new invention. Fine, but this DOCUMENTARY OMITS THE FACT THAT THEY DID NOT JUST SPREAD TO EUROPE COUNTRIES BUT ALSO IN EGYPT and other countries (like it was mentioned in it). And, egypt was a tremendously powerful state teritory, so my question is WHY THOSE EGYPTIANS (OR EVEN OTHER POWERFUL NATIONS) DID NOT CONQUER THE WORLD SINCE THEY DID HAVE THE SAME POWER AS THE EUROPEANS. Thatis why i think that the researcher work is incomplete because other nations were as powerful as the europeans if not stronger but did not cconquered other nations, at least not to the same extent.
    Let me know what do you all think.


  82. Very nice documentary. However, nothing really spectacular to anyone who's even remotely aware of the concepts of Historical Materialism developed by Karl Marx.

  83. this film is filled with contradictions, it never touches on why Europeans developed the technology to support their expansionist proclivities -- the arabs, indians, chinese, the bantu all had domesticated animals, worked with iron, and had diseases that europeans did not. Yet, Europeans conquered those peoples. In the film africans used to have antibodies to withstand malaria, but today they are dying in great masses of it. This film is biased propaganda from outdated new world order universities. What about the Japanese, nothing is mentioned of them. The romans aren't mentioned either. They had the same technology and geography as everyone they conquered. -- This film was a waste of time in the end.

  84. so he goes on about how its geographic then why dident asia take over the world they started off with all the same advantages he said in the first documentry that the people spread from the midal east both to europe and asia and how they both had good crops and the same animals but not a whisper about why they dident develop guns and steel and use it to take over like the europeans did he .

  85. are there any subtitle of these documentary movies

  86. nice , indeed , thx alot :)

  87. Excellent documentary, Jared is a great academic and researcher and has presented a very well balanced and clear understanding of the roots of inequality.

    Thanks for posting Vlatko, you are doing a fantastic job; I salute you!

    Although well researched, (though a little simplistic as economical factors also contribute to the roots of inequality) I would say ultimately, the real reason for inequality is much simplier: human greed and selfishness!

    And until we get to the root of why people are so selfish, it seems as though we'll always have inequality and poverty.

  88. There are Civilizations that are more than 8000 years old. Recent excavations in Syria reveals well planned cities in Syria that twice as old as the Indus Valley Civilizations. The History of Humans on Earth is much older than 4000 years!

    Unfortunately we only preserve what we want to preserve.

  89. watch the whole thing if you have something to say

  90. this doc is look at mankind, not particular races and it is the only documentary that approaches the division of mankind at all in a good manner, not to present something new but an observation of ourselves which however partial what is being said is important, and to understand then maybe there can be something new not of the known however partial the approach; geography is not the cause; that woman is right; intellectual analysis has no place in looking at the whole; guns and germs and steel is not the biggest question it is sad that a man can live so long and not see the limitations of ones approach; the point of view from which one observes

    1. I guess Karl Marx was the village idiot then.

  91. Fantastic! 10 stars from me.

  92. Guns,Germs & Steel...!! That was Yesterdays..!!
    To-Day...Thunderous Explosion, Epidemic diseases (HIV aids, swine flu..etc) and Stealing..!!

    History does repeat if one just have a hard look at it closely..!! Today it might not be the people's, of the Old-World to the New-World..!!

    But those Powerful Elite's few and they do posses the thing call "Money & Power" . That is just enough to make other fellow Human being succumb to their feet..!!

    A very good educational - history documentary...thumb-up !!!

  93. Thanks mate, those are great docs!

  94. Gah! Why do these damn documentaries always forget about India!?! Seriously, how about the Harapan civilization 4000 years ago that had technology that would not be matched until the Romans? The Indians may not have developed militarily like Europe, but they are a seriously old civilization with a rich history that influences us all. They recognize China, but not India?! Ugh...

    Ever since I took an Indian History class I've been really pissed at how ignorant western people to India.

  95. nice summery of basic knowledge, but nothing really new, and nothing really special.