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Posted: 9/7/2004 1:20:09 PM EDT
A few of my friends have read it and seemed to have liked it. Thought I might make it my next read.

Credible? You like it?

Link Posted: 9/7/2004 1:22:19 PM EDT
I have it,

but with school, and other things going on, just haven't gotten through it.

He seems knowledable, and IT is an interesting concept.

I need to finish it.

I didn't help you at all did I?
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 1:24:50 PM EDT
I read it and thought it was pretty interesting. It details a lot of things that many studies of history ignore. Some of the claims are bit overblown, but for the most part I found it very informative.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 1:26:28 PM EDT
Read it cover-to-cover and definitely worth a read. If you play Civilization-type games the premise is even more interesting since you can relate the two to some extent. Also a good basis for political science and history when evaluating future events.

A bit dry in parts; but overall he does a good job of keeping it interesting and easily understood by a casual reader.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 1:28:05 PM EDT
The author places a little to much importance in truly trivial civilizations. Of course that's what he specializes in...
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 1:33:14 PM EDT
Read it. Didn't like it.

Preferred Carnage and Culture
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 1:45:28 PM EDT
I started the book and have since misplaced it. It is interesting to me since I was an Ag major in college, and the rise of agriculture and the societal evolution it entailed has always fascinated me. But, I have to find it so I can finish it, it was interesting enough for me to try and find it.

Link Posted: 9/7/2004 2:55:05 PM EDT
Great book.

I especially liked the discussions of food "packages" (the kinds of crop plants and livestock available to different cultures), and how they affect the development and domination of some cultures over others.

Diamond also makes a convincing case for wars as a crucial step in a cultures development. War acts as a driving force in the exchange of information between cultures. Isolated civilizations tend to stagnate, both militarily and otherwise, while frequently warring nations tend to progress more quickly.

Link Posted: 9/7/2004 5:47:11 PM EDT
Typical liberal anti-western bull****.

His main premise is that the superiority of western (read European) culture is only due to a geographical accident - we had easily accessible mineral resources and easily exploitable animal species and this (and only this) allowed us to become the dominant culture. As is typical in sociology, he comes up with this theory (a theory that diminishes western culture, a very popular view in academic circles which hates anything western) and then goes looking for evidence to back up his theory and ignores evidence that does not back his theory. For instance, he conveniently forgets the fact that both the Chinese and the Arabs developed cultures on the Eurasian continents (with access to the same mineral and animal resources) before the Europeans. Quite simply, the elites of both of these cultures turned these cultures away from freedom, progress and change in order to maintain their control. The fragmented leadership of Europe was in constant competition and had no choice but to let their people to be free to compete both economically and intellectually and therefore to embrace change and progress. This has lead to the dominance of Western culture. Not surprisingly we Westerners currently find ourselves in conflict with both the Arabs and the Chinese. The conflict with the Chinese is not currently active but it is very real and they pose much more of a long term threat than the Arabs. The elite of both of these cultures find our freedoms to be a threat to their control of their population. Our world view is so fundamentally different I really don't see how we can coexist, conflict is inevitable. There can be only ONE! I am not saying Western culture is perfect, not by a long shot, but it damn sure is the best thing going right now. We have freedoms that others cultures couldn't even conceive of before the development of western culture.

What is really sad is that the author is a biologist, not a sociologist. He was trained to be a hard scientist, not a soft scientist, though calling sociology a science is overly flattering. It pisses me off to see people like Diamond get praised for bashing Western culture. It is really sad how our intellectual elite seem to want to do nothing except bash our culture. I would like to see Diamond try to debate Victor Davis Hanson (the author of Carnage and Culture), it wouldn't be much of a contest.

Link Posted: 9/7/2004 5:55:57 PM EDT
I didn't agree with all the author's theories but I do believe most of it.

I was most fascinated by the Aussie Aborigines who lacked outside stimulation and actually regressed as a race.

I would recommend it to anyone. What does make a society succeed? Imagine if Christianity hadn't taken over Europe?
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 6:09:41 PM EDT
I liked it. I like his book "The Third Chimpanzee" even better.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 6:11:16 PM EDT
I found it to be a snooze fest. Couldn't get going at all, despite the fact that I read (and enjoy) lots of dry stuff. I gave up.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 7:06:42 PM EDT
It's a good read, well worth the time. Just like every other book you don't have to agree with every single idea the author presents to enjoy the entire work. It didn't register as blatantly anti-Western to me, but I don't recall it verbatim. Might have to check out this Hanson guy, heard the name once or twice but not the title. So many books, so little time.

If in doubt, get it from the public library.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 7:24:36 PM EDT
My father is an anthropologist by training, and its one of his favorites.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 7:29:06 PM EDT
I thought it was a fascinating read - but didn't agree with all of the conclusions. Some of the assumptions are a little thin, but overall, it's a very interesting work.

Link Posted: 9/7/2004 7:32:21 PM EDT
Very good read. I recommend it. Were I teaching anthro or early civ or a course on early man...it would be req'd, along with others of course.
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