Weekly Web Links:
- Is it possible that the oldest known art is the prehistoric equivalent of spray paint graffiti? Those 40,000 year old hooligans!
- Would it surprise anyone to hear that archaeological evidence has suggested that viking warriors were vain about their appearance? If the information in this article is accurate then I think it’s safe to say that they were better groomed than I am. Also, ‘Vain Vikings’ has a pleasing ring to it….
- A common argument (which is quoted by the author of this article) claims that a general opinion is that people today were “born to soon to explore the cosmos and too late to explore the earth” but the opposite is argued in this well written article that states that the most exciting period of discovery is currently underway.
- The positioning of the remains of a thirteen year old girl who lived and died in the early Middle Ages appear to suggest that her death was based around a supernatural fear.
- And, just to end of this week on a high note, my favorite article title so far; ‘O, Death, Where is Thy Bling?’
Historical Book Review for the Week:
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
So, this might be an unpopular opinion but who doesn’t enjoy a good book debate? Since it was released, Jared Daimond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel has been one of the best-selling history books out there and is still ranked as the number one book in the Human Geography category on amazon.ca with an overall 4 star rating and 668 customer reviews; at one of my past jobs, working in a bookstore, I had a co-worker who was very much interested in the history of the Americas (particularly South America) and, knowing of my interest in history, he continuously pestered me to read it. Well, it took a while but I’ve read it and, at best, I think my overwhelming opinion of it might be indifference.
I’m not saying that the book bad exactly, I can honestly say that I have absolutely read worse; it’s well written, enjoyable enough to read, and I’m confident that it has been well researched and that all presented facts have been verified – I’m not saying that no one should ever read it or anything. It’s just, basically, that you get the same concept in reading the title and the back cover as you do from reading all 500 pages or so of the book itself. Europeans came to America and because they had better weapons (guns), carried diseases that the indigenous population had no immunity to (germs), and had possession of superior technologies (steel) they were able to overpower the local population which ultimately resulted in the development of the Americas of today. Yes, specific examples are provided throughout the book in order to support this argument but, rather than providing further proof of the central argument, this, instead, has the feeling of beating the concept to death. I think this is mainly due to the fact that the central thesis of the book itself isn’t a particularly new or controversial theory. It has been well established that Europeans succeeded in their dominance over the indigenous population of the Americas due to their possession of these three things and, as such, the book comes across as a rather long read with no real revelation.