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1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus

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1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus Cover

ISBN13: 9781400040063
ISBN10: 140004006x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492.

Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbuss landing had crossed the Bering Strait twelve thousand years ago; existed mainly in small, nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas was, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last thirty years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong.

In a book that startles and persuades, Mann reveals how a new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques came to previously unheard-of conclusions. Among them:

• In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe.

• Certain cities-such as Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital-were far greater in population than any contemporary European city. Furthermore, Tenochtitlán, unlike any capital in Europe at that time, had running water, beautiful botanical gardens, and immaculately clean streets.

• The earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids.

• Pre-Columbian Indians in Mexico developed corn by a breeding process so sophisticated that the journal Science recently described it as “mans first, and perhaps the greatest, feat of genetic engineering.”

• Amazonian Indians learned how to farm the rain forest without destroying it-a process scientists are studying today in the hope of regaining this lost knowledge.

• Native Americans transformed their land so completely that Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively “landscaped” by human beings.

Mann sheds clarifying light on the methods used to arrive at these new visions of the pre-Columbian Americas and how they have affected our understanding of our history and our thinking about the environment. His book is an exciting and learned account of scientific inquiry and revelation.

Review:

"Mann has done a superb job of analyzing and distilling information, offering a balanced and thoughtful perspective on each of his themes in engaging prose." Library Journal

Review:

"Unless you're an anthropologist, it's likely that everything you know about American prehistory is wrong. Science journalist Mann's survey of the current knowledge is a bracing corrective....An excellent, and highly accessible, survey of America's past." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"In sum, Mann tells a powerful, provocative and important story — especially in the chapters on the Andes and Amazonia." Alan Taylor, the Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Charles C. Mann is a correspondent for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, and has cowritten four previous books including Noahs Choice: The Future of Endangered Species and The Second Creation. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he has won awards from the American Bar Association, the Margaret Sanger Foundation, the American Institute of Physics, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, among others. His writing was selected for The Best American Science Writing 2003 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2003. He lives with his wife and their children in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

List of Maps

Preface

INTRODUCTION / Holmbergs Mistake

1. A View from Above

PART ONE / Numbers from Nowhere?

2. Why Billington Survived

3. In the Land of Four Quarters

4. Frequently Asked Questions

PART TWO / Very Old Bones

5. Pleistocene Wars

6. Cotton (or Anchovies) and Maize (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part I)

7. Writing, Wheels, and Bucket Brigades (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part II)

PART THREE / Landscape with Figures

8. Made in America

9. Amazonia

10. The Artificial Wilderness

11. The Great Law of Peace

Appendixes

A. Loaded Words

B. Talking Knots

C. The Syphilis Exception

D. Calendar Math

Acknowledgments

Notes

Bibliography

Index

From the Hardcover edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Wendy Weising, January 14, 2009 (view all comments by Wendy Weising)
Nonfiction can be like a good novel! Normally these words would not come out of my mouth. I love fiction. Finding a new novel with fascinating characters and an interesting plot that glues me to that novel, is one of life’s joys. However, this past year I took a chance. I stepped out of my comfort zone and read several nonfiction books. They ended up being some of the best writing I have ever read. One of these books was, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann. As Mann describes the scene of the Americas before Christopher Columbus’ arrival and the history that led up to it, I could not stop reading. He challenged my mind and my imagination. He is an amazing historian and writer.
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(10 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)
martola, August 2, 2007 (view all comments by martola)
I'm impressed with the information in this book. I feel very fortunate Charles C. Mann put toghether this information into this book. There's one thing I strongly disagree with Mann on this book-his claim that some Natives prefer to be called Indian instead of "Native Americans" is at most a "stupidaggine" (absurdity) as the that name was concocted by ignorance! The very ignorance of Christoforo Colombo or "Cristobal Colon" who thought he had landed in India. Why do we continue to perpetuate ignorance is unknown to me. Unless, of course, immigrants from other lands now want to claim the title for themselves! I'm sure it wouldn't matter now, they took everything else already from Native Peoples...
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(13 of 31 readers found this comment helpful)
jattrill, January 14, 2007 (view all comments by jattrill)
This is a very readable account of modern thoughts about the Americas in Pre-Colombian times. It argues that the population of the Americas was far larger than conventional historians believe. Several civilizations are thought to have been much further advanced than previously admitted. American Indians are thought to have managed/farmed the habitat of the Midwest and Amazonia through the use of fire and selective breeding of plants to produce a higher than expected proportion of edible nuts and fruit.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in history or travel in the Americas.
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(37 of 65 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400040063
Author:
Mann, Charles C
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Author:
Mann, Charles C.
Subject:
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Subject:
North American
Subject:
Native American
Subject:
Antiquities
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - Native American Studies
Subject:
Expeditions & Discoveries
Subject:
America Antiquities.
Subject:
Indians -- Origin.
Subject:
Native American-General Native American Studies
Subject:
history;non-fiction;anthropology;native americans;archaeology;americas;american history;america;south america;indians;north america;native american;pre-columbian;american indians;science;ecology;15th century;prehistory;columbus;maya;inca;mexico;pre-columb
Subject:
aztecs;usa;environment;mesoamerica;new world;exploration;agriculture;latin america;native american history;culture;us;disease;central america;us history;world history;civilization;native america;indigenous peoples
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20050831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
15 MAPS and 56 PHOTOGRAPHS
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9.54x6.56x1.46 in. 1.85 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Archaeology » New World
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Renaissance
History and Social Science » World History » General

1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.95 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9781400040063 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Mann has done a superb job of analyzing and distilling information, offering a balanced and thoughtful perspective on each of his themes in engaging prose."
"Review" by , "Unless you're an anthropologist, it's likely that everything you know about American prehistory is wrong. Science journalist Mann's survey of the current knowledge is a bracing corrective....An excellent, and highly accessible, survey of America's past."
"Review" by , "In sum, Mann tells a powerful, provocative and important story — especially in the chapters on the Andes and Amazonia."
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