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Search Results for: Guns, Germs and Steel

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To Dare and to Conquer

To Dare and to Conquer

In the tradition of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Leebaert tells the stories of small forces that have triumphed over vastly larger ones and changed the course of history — from the Trojan Horse to Al Qaeda. Maps and charts.
Upheaval

Upheaval

A “riveting and illuminating” Bill Gates Summer Reading pick about how and why some nations recover from trauma and others don’t (Yuval Noah Harari), by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the landmark bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel.

In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes — a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.

Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals — ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry’s fleet, to the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Austria after World War Two. Because Diamond has lived and spoken the language in five of these six countries, he can present gut-wrenching histories experienced firsthand. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past?

Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond’s books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal yet.
The Human Swarm

The Human Swarm

The epic story and ultimate big history of how human society evolved from intimate chimp communities into the sprawling civilizations of a world-dominating species

If a chimpanzee ventures into the territory of a different group, it will almost certainly be killed. But a New Yorker can fly to Los Angeles–or Borneo–with very little fear. Psychologists have done little to explain this: for years, they have held that our biology puts a hard upper limit–about 150 people–on the size of our social groups. But human societies are in fact vastly larger. How do we manage–by and large–to get along with each other?

In this paradigm-shattering book, biologist Mark W. Moffett draws on findings in psychology, sociology and anthropology to explain the social adaptations that bind societies. He explores how the tension between identity and anonymity defines how societies develop, function, and fail. Surpassing Guns, Germs, and Steel and Sapiens, The Human Swarm reveals how mankind created sprawling civilizations of unrivaled complexity–and what it will take to sustain them.
Transcendence

Transcendence

In the tradition of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Sapiens, a winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books shows how four tools enabled has us humans to control the destiny of our species

“A wondrous, visionary work.” –Tim Flannery, scientist and author of the bestselling The Weather Makers

What enabled us to go from simple stone tools to smartphones? How did bands of hunter-gatherers evolve into multinational empires? Readers of Sapiens will say a cognitive revolution — a dramatic evolutionary change that altered our brains, turning primitive humans into modern ones — caused a cultural explosion. In Transcendence, Gaia Vince argues instead that modern humans are the product of a nuanced coevolution of our genes, environment, and culture that goes back into deep time. She explains how, through four key elements — fire, language, beauty, and time — our species diverged from the evolutionary path of all other animals, unleashing a compounding process that launched us into the Space Age and beyond. Provocative and poetic, Transcendence shows how a primate took dominion over nature and turned itself into something marvelous.
A Question of Power

A Question of Power

Historically, it was guns, germs, and steel that determined the fates of people and nations. Now, more than ever, it is electricity.

Global demand for power is doubling every two decades, but electricity remains one of the most difficult forms of energy to supply and do so reliably. Today, some three billion people live in places where per-capita electricity use is less than what’s used by an average American refrigerator. How we close the colossal gap between the electricity rich and the electricity poor will determine our success in addressing issues like women’s rights, inequality, and climate change.

In A Question of Power, veteran journalist Robert Bryce tells the human story of electricity, the world’s most important form of energy. Through onsite reporting from India, Iceland, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, New York, and Colorado, he shows how our cities, our money–our very lives–depend on reliable flows of electricity. He highlights the factors needed for successful electrification and explains why so many people are still stuck in the dark.

With vivid writing and incisive analysis, he powerfully debunks the notion that our energy needs can be met solely with renewables and demonstrates why–if we are serious about addressing climate change–nuclear energy must play a much bigger role.

Electricity has fueled a new epoch in the history of civilization. A Question of Power explains how that happened and what it means for our future.
Rivers of Power

Rivers of Power

“This book about rivers is as fascinating as it’s beautifully written.”—Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and Upheaval

A “fascinating, eye-opening, sometimes alarming, and ultimately inspiring” natural history of rivers and their complex and ancient relationship with human civilization (Elizabeth Kolbert).

Rivers, more than any road, technology, or political leader, have shaped the course of human civilization. They have opened frontiers, founded cities, settled borders, and fed billions. They promote life, forge peace, grant power, and can capriciously destroy everything in their path. Even today, rivers remain a powerful global force — one that is more critical than ever to our future.

In Rivers of Power, geographer Laurence C. Smith explores the timeless yet vastly underappreciated relationship between rivers and civilization as we know it. Rivers are of course important in many practical ways (water supply, transportation, sanitation). But the full breadth of their profound influence on the way we live is less obvious. Rivers define and transcend international borders, forcing cooperation between nations. Huge volumes of river water are used to produce energy, raw commodities, and food. Wars, politics, and demography are transformed by their devastating floods. The territorial claims of nations, their cultural and economic ties to each other, and the migrations and histories of their peoples trace back to rivers, river valleys, and the topographic divides they carve upon the world.

Beautifully told and expansive in scope, Rivers of Power reveals how and why rivers have so profoundly influenced our civilization, and examines the importance this vast, arterial power holds for our present, past, and future.
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