Guns, Germs, and Steel: Understanding Global Inequality

“Why do some nations have so much material wealth while so many others have so little?” This question framed the thesis for Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs, and Steel.  After discussing a time in global history when all societies were roughly equal (over 13,000 years ago), Diamond discusses key variables that led to highly complex, material-rich societies, while others developed at much slower rates.

A must read for anyone interested in the history of global inequality. Diamond’s book was the inspiration for a 3 hour long documentary by PBS.  The entire series can be accessed at google videos (embedded below). The companion website can be found at

Part 1

Part Two

Part Three

About Cliff

Hi, my name is Cliff Des Marais and I teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies at Bellows Falls Middle School in Bellows Falls, VT.
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