Guns, Germs, and Steel

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Guns, Germs, and Steel

  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Release Date: 2005-05-14
  • Advisory Rating: TV-PG
  • Episodes: 3
  • iTunes Price: USD 4.99

Description

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning best seller by Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel explores the fascinating connections between geography, technology, and global human development. Hosted by the author himself, this extraordinary series spans 13,000 years of struggle and conquest.

Episodes

Title Time Price
1 Out of Eden 54:29 USD 1.99 Buy on iTunes
2 Conquest 54:22 USD 1.99 Buy on iTunes
3 Into the Tropics 54:52 USD 1.99 Buy on iTunes

Trailer

Reviews

  • Oversimplistic

    1
    By Collect Corn
    Very over simplistic understanding of history.
  • Truly Selfless

    4
    By Trailblazer NY
    I could not help but pick up on a continued theme that portrays Mr. Dimond (sp) in a perfectly dominant position over the people and landscapes that he is visiting, whether being driven around in a boat in New Guinea, or riding first class in a train that he admits is still part of economic oppression of the area he is in, en route to what appears some sort of luxury encampment in otherwise Malaria infested inland Africa. A Shocking corollary to this theme is what I would term as “restrained jubilation” that accompanied so much of his commentary about the actual deadly historical conquests. At the very end his displays of emotion seem forced, at best. Of course, this documentary was filmed about 10 years back, and things have evolved in a variety of arenas, most notably that of increased awareness of inequality, which is displayed in this film. I think historically the nuances of Dimond’s behavior and emotional mannerisms (Mind you he is not a poor but a wealthy, presumably left-wing, individual) will be important, because as men like him die, the last vessels of belief that blacks and aboriginal peoples were inferior will die out, too. (I don’t think that in 2004 Dimond would have identified himself as a racist, and he would have been right about that at the conscious level, but 10 years later we can see that its obvious he is, esp. in the hospital scene where he is clearly so uncomfortable talking to the black female african doctor that he is practically sprinting away from her, and no, he isn’t looking where he is going). We can’t blame old white guys like Dimond for being hokey and ignorant, they grew up before the civil rights movement…they were born into a world of hate and inequality. We’ve just got to pick up the pieces.
  • decent adaptation of the book

    4
    By miskatonic
    While not a powerful or totally engaging documentary, it does a decent job of portraying Diamond's theory of importance of the natural world --- plants, animals, shapes of continents, longitude / latitude, etc --- on human progress. The film is slow at times, but if you stick with it, you get a good sense of a theory that debunks the racial theories popular with certain people. You may not agree with everything Diamond says (I don't), but is reasoning is pretty sound. Read the book either before or after to get the full effect.
  • Disappointing

    2
    By Dos Gatos
    Jared Diamond, a physiology professor turned amateur anthropologist, claims to have “discovered” why some peoples (notably Europeans) have come to dominate others and why some enjoy greater material prosperity than others. His thesis appears to be that the especially easy-to-cultivate crops and easy-to-domesticate animals of the fertile crescent gave the farmers of that region significant advantages. That additional geographic advantage of available land at similar latitudes enabled those farmers to migrate when they had worn out the land. On the other hand, people lacking access to nourishing crops and animals were unable to develop the agricultural surpluses necessary for cultural growth. It is difficult to be impressed with either Diamond (who appears in the documentary) or his claims of discovery. The notion that agricultural surplus is a prerequisite for cultural development is certainly not new; nor is the observation that technical superiority (guns and steel) makes it easier to conquer less developed people. At least those parts of his thesis are correct. His description of European failure to conquer tropical Africa has several flaws, including his description of why the indigenous people lost their purported immunity to malaria and his characterization of dispersed farming villages as a great empire. Diamond’s general thesis (at least as presented in this documentary) completely ignores the British conquest of India or any of several conquests of China by less developed rivals such as the Manchu. His dismissal of written language as a significant factor in cultural development also casts serious question on his understanding of the developmental pathways that lead to technical superiority. “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is a catchy title, but only a partial explanation of the gaps between the richer and poorer nations of the world. This documentary is also less than impressive. It spends far too much time in New Guinea explaining how Diamond became interested in the subject and its frequent reuse of certain pieces of footage gives it an unnecessarily sophomoric feel. The time spent with Diamond watching birds from his canoe, attempting to fire a gun, and drinking coffee on a train in Africa might have been better spend supporting his thesis.
  • Great Understandings

    4
    By coyStuff
    I believe this is a great idea. Understanding cultural base on lattitude and spread of knowledge. Access to abundast move culture in innovative ways. I like and understand this becoming "law of acceptability" can lead to dominance. I believe this idea will be in books of educators major understandings of socioeconomics and culture within 10 ten years of analysis. Great stuff!

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