The spread of farming from those few sites of origin usually did not occur as a result of the hunter-gatherers’ elsewhere adopting farming; hunter-gatherers tend to be conservative…. Instead, farming spread mainly through farmers’ outbreeding hunters, developing more potent technology, and then killing the hunters or driving them off of all lands suitable for agriculture.

A classic of anthropology and world history, this book answers the simple historical question: Why Europe? Why didn’t China, Africa, or the Native Americans colonize the world? The short answer gives the book its title and the long answer, its contents.