Ok this needed to be posted because it really is quite possibly the most intelligent study on civilization ever done by anyone.
Yes the book is a bit dated, and some probably know of it already, but EVERYONE needs to know about it. Jared Diamond (a UCLA professor) basically proves with historical fact why there are impoverished countries in todays world. Not only that, but he touches on the stem of racism and social inequality on a level that no one could have even imagined.
Please do yourself a favor if you have any compassion towards the world we live in and either read Guns, Germs, and Steel, or get a copy of the National Geographic Doumentary.
It will change the way you look at things.