Preface and Afterword Guns, Germs and Steel Question 1

            The preface and afterword of the book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond are self-explanatory. The mere definitions of the words explain how they were used. The preface of the book introduced the topic, question being asked, and warns the audience of what might be to come. The afterword of the book concluded Diamond’s thesis, restated and added examples, and described the different contents of the book. In other words, the preface is the introduction of a certain passage, while the afterword is the conclusion.

            In the preface of the book, Diamond explains the whole topic itself. He first introduces the question that was asked to inspire this book, and then he goes on and explains his side of the argument while adding questions of his own. He also warns the audience and states, “In case this question immediately makes you shudder at the thought that you are about to read a racist treatise, you aren’t” (9 Diamond). In the afterword of the book, Diamond concludes his argument by referring back to the preface, answering questions while adding on more examples. He revisits most parts of the book while adding on his own examples. Diamond’s argument is that the difference in society developments differ due to the environmental factors not the biological factors.

            Both the preface and the afterword state the same argument, to illustrate uniform throughout the book. They both asked questions to arouse the audience while indirectly answering them with examples from the real world. Diamond states that Eurasia civilizations, a combination of Europe and Asia, have developed faster and more efficiently than other civilizations. However, Diamond states that the reason Eurasia civilizations develop more efficiently is not because of the biological factors such as intelligence, race, or inherent genetic superiority, but instead the environmental factors such as the government, location on earth, and technology. For example, Asians do not develop quicker than Americans do because of their Asian genes such as having black hair, small eyes, or a yellow skin color, but because of their environment such as the technological advancement around them and their developed government. The reason people develop faster is not because they are born with supernatural intelligence, but because their environment contributes to it. Diamond argues the problem of Nature vs Nurture in both the preface and the afterword. In the preface, he states that Nature won while giving scenarios, while in the afterword, he concludes with the same argument by giving real life examples. The preface introduces to the argument at hand while the afterword states Diamond’s current feelings, concludes the argument while adding on questions for the audience to continue referring to after they have finished reading the book. It is somewhat like a cliffhanger, leaving the audience with questions for them to answer on their own.

            The preface of the book includes an analogy of an onion, while focusing more on the broadness of the subject. It states the problem, and relates it to scenarios or scenes that may or may not have actually occurred. The afterword of the book refers to real life situations that have passed or are present in our modern society. The preface and the afterword can be seen as the introduction and the conclusion as they both function as the beginning and end of an argument. They both illustrate the same logical thinking, but the preface talks more generally and relates it to other unrelated subjects like onions, while the afterword actually takes into account what is happening in the world and leaves the audience with a solid point and conclusion.


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