Gun Articles: 'Guns, Germs, and Steel'

Jared Diamond's theories about the course of human civilization come to television in "Guns, Germs, and Steel: A National Geographic Presentation," a three-part television series produced exclusively for PBS. Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning book offers a look at the rise and fall of societies through the lens of geography, technology, biology and economics - forces symbolized by the power of guns, germs and steel. The new series airs on PBS Mondays, July 11-25, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings).

Dr. Jared M. Diamond, host and consultant for "Guns, Germs, and Steel," and author of its newly revised companion book, was online Wednesday, July 20, at 3 p.m. ET to discuss his work and the series.

The production spans five continents and uses epic historical reenactments to illustrate Diamond's theories, explaining why societies developed differently in different parts of the world -- why some became conquerors and others the conquered.

The first episode, "Out of Eden," proposes that a society's potential for advanced development was not determined by race or creed, or by time and experience, but by access to domesticated animals and cultivated plants. Part two, "Conquest," explores the impact of weapons and disease in shaping the conquest of the New World.

The final episode, "Into the Tropics," examines the development and colonization of Africa by South Africans and Europeans, and explains why geography is still a factor in forming the divide between those with money and resources and those without. "Guns, Germs, and Steel" is a PBS Program Club pick.

Dr. Jared M. Diamond is professor of geography, environmental health sciences and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1977 Diamond has published eight books, including "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" (2004), two monographs and nearly 600 articles. In 1998 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the national bestseller "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" (1997).

The recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and Japan's International Cosmos Prize, Diamond is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He serves on the Board of Directors of the World Wildlife Fund and is a contributing editor to Discover magazine. Diamond has been the recipient of numerous grants from National Geographic's Conservation, Research and Exploration council for his work with native bird species in Papua New Guinea and its outlying areas.

Byline: Dr. Jared M. Diamond