Additionally, Diamond is pretty ambivalent about the "winners". Diamond wrote an essay on the subject of agriculture called "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race". He closes the essay with "As our second midnight approaches, will the plight of famine-stricken peasants gradually spread to engulf us all? Or will we somehow achieve those seductive blessings that we imagine behind agriculture's glittering facade, and that have so far eluded us?"
It is not a screed extolling the virtues of European civilization, nor a litany of the failings of other people. Sorry if that's how you understood my brief.
Gotta love HN-contrarianism. Oh have you also heard of Jared Diamond and would now like that knowledge recognized by pedantically contradicting me?
EDIT: actually let me update this. It is about sociocultural evolution. However if I had said "he wrote a book about sociocultural evolution," nobody would have understood the primary emphasis of his work. That book is specifically and primarily about identifying the key developments in Europe which allowed that civilization to rise in power. He has spent many years living among primitive societies around the world to explore his hypotheses. As much as possible, concepts like "primitive" and "advanced" are objective qualifiers and not value judgments.
When I say it that way, people understand what it's about and want to read the book.
Exactly. All pedants do is push people to hedge, equivocate, and employ dense jargon to throw them off the scent, and where's the help to the rest of us in that?
(Niall Ferguson is pretty outspoken politically too, e.g. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/a-full-f...
Although after learning of his political views(I don't live in the US), I couldn't help but wonder how much it influenced his views in Civilisation. It comes off as a bit overly biased in favour of Europeans (read: the white man) when seen in this new light. For example, he tries to argue that church attendance being down is a sign that European influence/culture is declining.
But at the end of the day, it is a study of how some parts of the world - particularly Europe - came to technologically, and subsequently politically/economically dominate everyone else. I don't think this is an unfair thing to say, and it implies no Euro- or Amero-centrism.
Jared Diamond is a very sensitive and empathetic man, and that really comes through if you watch the TV series by the same name. His work is not at all promoting Euro-centric supremacy as a race or culture, merely explaining a set of historical circumstances.
And I think it should be mentioned that Guns, Germs and Steel is rather extreme in suggesting an 'geological determinism.'  While his arguments are generally quite good, there is simply quite a bit more happening. A nice book to balance this is Ian Morris, Why the West Rules--For Now.
 Jarred Diamond actually warns of this determinism fallacy, but the book certainly left me with the impression that such a determinism exists.
 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-4959.2008.... (paywall)
One way to phrase the distinction is that no one really expects huge empires in Antarctica, so everyone admits there's some role to the environment. GGS talks about more complicated effects that the environment has, without saying anything about the outcome being deterministic. It argues that the odds were somewhat higher of Europe invading North America than vice-versa, and doesn't even try to quantify by how much.
According to the book, the reason China has a large stable empire was because of China's geography, which was mostly flat and well-connected by the Yangtze and the Yellow river. With few geographical segments, this led to the people being less likely to form 'tribes' and more likely to be united culturally.
This is in contrast to Europe, which has a large impassible mountain range in the middle, and lots of peninsulas and small rivers, forming natural boundaries. This led to Europe being more diverse culturally.