The Emperor's New Clothes
This book has been praised by many (including Bill Gates!), received several awards, and was serialized in PBS. I may play here the role of the simpleton who screamed that the Emperor had no clothes on his august person. So be it!
As I see it, the author has used some 500 pages to present his thesis that the world domination once achieved by the Europeans and their descendants was not the product of superior intelligence, fearless determination, or incredible stoicism in the face of adversity. No. It was derived from the fact that they had more food available to them (even though the Incas were well fed, and there was more starvation in Europe than in the Mexico of the Aztecs). Also, according to the author, the Europeans were resistant to infectious diseases, an affirmation that may astonish anyone with minimal knowledge of medical history.
The author goes far in slighting the achievements of the Europeans. Here is an example, Mr. Diamond contrast the 400 feet-long Chinese vessels of the 1400s against their contemporary, ?puny? (his word) ships of Columbus. It seems not to matter that the portentous Chinese float achieved nothing, while the ?puny? vessels of Columbus changed the history of the world.
The simpleton has spoken.