As I’ve been traveling down under recently - in New Zealand and Australia, I kept wondering how the populations of these countries are so white / British / European. I didn’t learn much about New Zealand or Australia in the short one-semester-only “world” history (aka European history) class we were required to take in high school, so I had no idea what the story of these countries was.

Funny enough it is similar to that of America - Europeans came, wiped out most of the local population, and settled there. But because I live in the U.S. and learned that history, it seems more normal to me than what happened in New Zealand and Australia.

With my curiosity set to high, I remembered a friend mentioning the book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. He mentioned that it was a great book, but also that it was so boring, he had to force himself through reading it. That is the main reason I didn’t try reading it before. But with my curiosity high from living in the New Zealand for two month and wondering about this question over and over again, I decided to force myself to read it.

No forcing was necessary! I LOVED this book, couldn’t stop reading it. There were a few boring parts, but it was the most fascinating account of human history I read before. I wish they taught this in school!

Not only does the book talk about the general history - Europeans coming, wiping out locals, and settling around the world. But the core of the book dives into a more important questions - why was it Europeans?!! Why didn’t Australians come to Europe and wipe Europeans out and settled there instead?

The answer is based on a mix of sciences, archeology, history, linguistics, and more! It’s so fascinating to read about all of these fields combined to explain the framework for why the world is the way it is. And it has nothing to do with race or some cultures being smarter than others and stupid reasons like that.

Most of the book actually made me sad - humans are so violent.

I cannot recommend this book enough, especially if you travel. What a fascinating new lens to see the world through!