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Steve Jones, 10 September 1992

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee: How our animal heritage affects the way we live 
by Jared Diamond.
Vintage, 360 pp., £6.99, August 1992, 0 09 991380 1
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... man, though well-behaved, is really but a monkey shaved’? Generally speaking, Jared Diamond believes that it is. He has a mass of up-to-date and well-presented evidence to support his views. The double helix of DNA is tough stuff. By boiling up together the DNA from different species and allowing the mixture to cool, a hybrid molecule ...

Why Rhino-Mounted Bantu Never Sacked Rome

Armand Marie Leroi, 4 September 1997

Guns, Germs and Steel 
by Jared Diamond.
Cape, 480 pp., £18.99, April 1997, 0 224 03809 5
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Why is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality 
by Jared Diamond.
Weidenfeld, 176 pp., £11.99, July 1997, 0 297 81775 2
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... why did some societies develop in size, complexity and, most of all, power, while others did not? Jared Diamond has written a book to answer this question. He is a remarkable man: as much a natural philosopher as a scientist, he has studied the digestive systems of Burmese pythons, described a new species of flightless bird, and written on the ...


Partha Dasgupta: What Environmentalism Overlooks, 19 May 2005

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive 
by Jared Diamond.
Allen Lane, 575 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 7139 9286 7
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... progress in recent centuries did that was not only not wrong, but may even have been right. Jared Diamond, a professor of geography in California, looks for answers to these big questions by examining the societies that collapsed. The body of his book contains accounts of four such societies: the Easter Islanders; the Anasazi; the Mayans; and the ...

Crops, Towns, Government

James C. Scott: Ancestor Worship, 21 November 2013

The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? 
by Jared Diamond.
Penguin, 498 pp., £8.99, September 2013, 978 0 14 102448 6
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... arrangements we take for granted are the contingent result of a unique historical conjuncture. Jared Diamond, ornithologist, evolutionary biologist and geographer, is best known as the author of Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years, one of the most influential accounts of how most of us came to live in places ...

At the Wellcome

Peter Campbell: ‘Dirt’, 2 June 2011

... worst something to put alongside climate change and the pathologies of the collapsed civilisations Jared Diamond writes about. Dirt: The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life at the Wellcome Collection (until 31 August), which works on the instincts that make filth disgusting and cleanliness desirable, is not a comfortable exhibition. The desire to keep self ...

70 Centimetres and Rising

John Whitfield: Plate tectonics, 3 February 2005

The Earth: An Intimate History 
by Richard Fortey.
Harper Perennial, 501 pp., £9.99, March 2005, 0 00 655137 8
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... to accept the limitations of climate and soil now threaten to repeat this on a global scale, as Jared Diamond argues in his new book, Collapse.* The fastest growing cities in the United States are in the desert; to someone flying over Phoenix, the bright green scars left on the Sonoran desert by the golf rush of the late 20th century are as shocking as ...

Hayek and His Overcoat

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 1 October 1998

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations 
by David Landes.
Little, Brown, 650 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 316 90867 3
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The Commanding Heights 
by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw.
Simon and Schuster, 457 pp., £18.99, February 1998, 0 684 82975 4
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... Landes explains, this has not been the case; the answers have been more local. For Landes, as for Jared Diamond (whose history of the past 13,000 years, Guns, Germs and Steel, was reviewed in the LRB on 4 September last year), they lay at first in geography. What the Europeans came to call economic development started in the temperate zones and only ...

Ultimate Choice

Malcolm Bull: Thoughts of Genocide, 9 February 2006

The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing 
by Michael Mann.
Cambridge, 580 pp., £17.99, January 2005, 0 521 53854 8
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Genocide in the Age of the Nation State. Vol. I: The Meaning of Genocide 
by Mark Levene.
Tauris, 266 pp., £24.50, August 2005, 1 85043 752 1
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Genocide in the Age of the Nation State: Vol. II: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide 
by Mark Levene.
Tauris, 463 pp., £29.50, August 2005, 1 84511 057 9
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... enforced by sanctions, expulsions and executions of potential upstarts and free-riders. So, unlike Jared Diamond, who has suggested that human genocides are continuous with the murderous inter-group skirmishes of chimpanzees, Boehm sees a radical discontinuity between the hierarchical social organisation of the chimpanzees and the egalitarianism of human ...

Against Whales

Paul Keegan, 20 July 1995

The Moon by Whale Light 
by Diane Ackerman.
Phoenix, 260 pp., £6.99, May 1994, 1 85799 087 0
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The Last Panda 
by George Schaller.
Chicago, 292 pp., $13.95, May 1993, 0 226 73629 6
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The Great Ape Project 
edited by Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer.
Fourth Estate, 312 pp., £9.99, June 1993, 1 85702 126 6
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... to measure genetic distances and put a date on times of evolutionary divergence between species), Jared Diamond approvingly recalls one geneticist saying: ‘Their results are The Revealed Truth, and you’d better believe it.’ DNA Revelation, in the case of the higher primates, preaches that humans and apes are closer to each other than either are to ...


Patricia Lockwood: Insane after coronavirus?, 16 July 2020

... the hot alien from Star Trek: The Motion Picture; by day, more unfortunately, I resembled Jared Loughner of the Tucson shootings.) Euphoria set in, and I began to putter around the apartment singing Creed’s ‘With Arms Wide Open’ at the top of my lungs, placing special emphasis on the lyrics ‘Welcome to this place, I’ll show you ...

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