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National Geographic: Guns, Germs and Steel [DVD]

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Jun. 2010
  • Run Time: 156 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003IMFX18
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,752 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book. It is perhaps the most fundamental question of world history: why are some civilisations conquered and others conquerors? Author and scholar Jared Diamond's surprising answer, found in his acclaimed bestseller, Guns, Germs and Steel, is the basis of this thought-provoking three-part series. Out of Eden - Evidence from Papua New Guinea to the Middle East supports Diamond's theory that a society's development may have had less to do with skill or ingenuity, than with an ability to raise high-protein grains and domesticated livestock. He suggests that successful farming gave rise to an explosion of sophisticated civilisations, from the Fertile Crescent to the New World. Conquest - Diamond focuses on Spanish conquistador Pizarro's 16th-century assault on the Inca. Was it the Spaniards' advanced weaponry that defeated the empire? Was it also the Europeans' innate resilience to some infectious diseases a resistance born of centuries of contact with domesticated animals? The European triumph of the New World may have rested on an agent of conquest unknown to even the conquerors and that proved deadlier than any human foe. Into the Tropics - Diamond extends his quest to Africa, probing early European attempts to colonise the continent. The conquerors were initially successful, repelling native attackers with rifles and Maxim guns but they met unexpected obstacles when they moved from temperate zones to the tropics. The debilitating scourge of malaria, like the AIDS epidemic of today, overwhelmed their mightiest resources.

From the Back Cover

Subtitles: English

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The production has only recently become available as "region 2" in Europe, but it was worth the wait. The ideas of the book are presented compactly, making this a good alternative for those that cannot make time for the book itself. Points on domestication of plants and animals, the geographic destiny of continental shapes, germ co-evolution, and a brief foray into African farming history - all probably offer new insights to most audiences.

Although the production had a bit more of the american-style "superhero scientist" in it than I would have liked, I nevertheless rate this DVD as offering among the highest value for 3 hours of your time compared to almost any other available from Amazon.

Highly recommended.
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This is a relatively long documentary, compared to the 52 min short ones that National Geographic has. However, it is not boring at all as it is divided into three parts. As it can be inferred from the title of the DVD, the role of guns , germs and steel in history have been revealed. It is fascinating to see how some populations are favoured over some other ethnic/geographic groups, simply because they invented things earlier, or they got resistant to some germs, which gave them advantage at later centuries. Some remakable examples are given in the documentary, which are quite convincing. It can answer some of the big questions you might have about the world history.
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Format: DVD
The DVD is long and extremely interesting, especially not because it goes into deep detail, but because it wants to answer the mega question of humankind - why some peoples are rich and others poor. There are surprising discoveries, such as that there were civilizations only where people had wheat and plough and certain domesticated animals. We still meet gatherer cultures because they never had them. It speaks about Eurasia, Africa, the Americas. Puts the dots on the "i"s. Higly recommended.
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An interesting examination of how different segments of the human race have interacted with each other and their environments over time. Professor Diamond appears passionate about the subject matter and it is understandable that he sometimes appears not to be completely objective.

The subject matter is so complex that most viewers will recognise familiar topics, although some may notice omissions, but in all fairness, there is not sufficient room in both the film and the book for a full explanation of each and phenomina mentioned (eg when the consequence of the difference between temperate and tropical climates is mentioned, there is no real need to mention that this is largely due to the earths rotational axis (currently) being inclined 23.4 degrees from the ecliptic plane.)

As mentioned above, and in other reviews, there is some (understandable?) lack of objectivity, but these reviews also demonstrate that the subject matter is thought-provoking, which is possibly one of the authors aims.

And in another 13,000 years, current evidence suggests:
The inclination of the rotational axis will be reduced to 22.5 degrees
The moon will be very slightly further away
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I had high expectations after reading the book, which I rate very very high.
The documentary is good, solid but not at par. But then again one had to cramp loads of information into just a limited amount of DVD time too keep the viewer interested. So all in all, see the DVD first and then read the book. :-)
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Format: DVD
Highly recommended.Obviously, one over-arching theory that seeks to explain Western expansion and dominance over the last 500 years will tend to have omissions.It does tend to downplay the role of culture and the genius of individuals in Western society but its arguments are cogent and convincing. Not as good as the book, but it really makes you think and challenges assumptions based on culture and race. An important book!
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Format: DVD
Having enjoyed Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs and Steel", I purchased this documentary in the hope that it would provide an interesting adjunct to the book. It doesn't.

Most of the budget for the three-part documentary has been spent on ferrying Jared Diamond to New Guinea and Africa for a handful of pieces to camera, and the rest on a lavish reconstruction of Francisco Pizarro's defeat of the Inca army at the battle of Cajamarca. Snippets from these segments are repeated many times during each episode, giving the documentary an unforgivably repetitive feel.

The documentary covers the invention of agriculture and the domestication of animals engagingly, but the last episode veers off into a segment in poor taste in which Jared Diamond is confronted by dying children in an AIDS ward in Africa while the narrator heavy-handedly hammers home the impact of disease on the development of society.

The domination of less-technological societies by industrialised societies is barely covered - a few shots of a steam train passing through the African landscape are used as illustration.

All in all, a badly garbled, lopsided introduction of Jared Diamond's classic. Do yourself a favour and buy the book in hardback instead. At least it'll last longer when you lend it to your friends.
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