Mysterious6030, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Mysterious6030)
Scientific and historical journalism at its best, Charles C. Mann presents an eminently readable explication of the latest insights into the nature of the American societies and civilizations which thrived in the 'New World' centuries before they became new. Delving into thorny questions such as when and how the first Americans reached these continents, when they developed recorded language, and how the Indians manipulated or even created the environment surrounding them, Mann presents the available evidence and speculation fairly, in an understandable fashion which never patronizes the reader or his subject.
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KEB, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by KEB)
1491 is a sweeping and gripping book about the Americas before Columbus which greatly increased my knowledge of the early American advanced civilizations. As one example, if we could rediscover how the indigenous Amazonians created the Amazon landscape and maintained fertility in tropical soils for 1000 years(!) we'd be able to improve poor tropical soils in Africa and elsewhere for sustainable agriculture.
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jcurry5556, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by jcurry5556)
Excellent piece on disease and the history of the Americas before Columbus and its effects on post Colombian discoveries.It should be required reading in every Junior High class room.Charles Mann did an excellent job of presenting the information in a precise and informative manner.JEFF CURRY
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California Girl, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by California Girl)
This is one of the most important and remarkable books I have ever read. Like most residents of the United States, I have been abysmally educated about the many magnificent civilizations that have previously flourished in North, Central, and South America. "1491," an account of what the Western Hemisphere was like on the eve of Columbus's discovery, expanded a thousand-fold my knowledge about and understanding of these civilizations - and, alas, of their destruction by European greed and diseases. An abridged version of this book should be required reading by every high school student in the United States. Not only would it lend us some much-needed humility about where our civilization fits into the history of the Western Hemisphere, but would help us respect the descendants of the pre-Columbian civilizations who live among us.
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Chris Langlois, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Chris Langlois)
This is a stunning and engagingly written story, based on recent archeological, geological, and other research, of who was living in the Western Hemisphere, how they were living, and what the agriculture, cultures, and politics looked like. Every page is packed with terrific stuff. Here is an example: "When Columbus landed...the central Mexican plateau alone had a population of 25.2 million.By contrast, Spain and Portugal together had fewer than 10 million inhabitants."
This one book amounts to a college course in the history, science and archaeology of our hemisphere. And, best of all, it is great fun!
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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Used Trade Paper
Charles C. Mann
0 stars -
Vintage Books USA -
by Jill Owens,
Charles C. Mann has pulled off an impressive feat — a scholarly, thorough work of history that's almost compulsively readable. In 1491, he summarizes and examines the last thirty years of research into the pre-Columbian Americas, and comes to some startling and exciting conclusions. Mann is an enthusiastic and capable guide, and 1491 is satisfyingly rich with description, anecdote, and example.
by Jill Owens
by Library Journal,
"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."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"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."
by Alan Taylor, the Washington Post Book World,
"In sum, Mann tells a powerful, provocative and important story — especially in the chapters on the Andes and Amazonia."
by Kevin Baker, The New York Times Book Review,
"[A]n important corrective — a sweeping portrait of human life in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus....A remarkably engaging writer, [Mann] lucidly explains the significance of everything from haplogroups to glottochronology to landraces."
by Boston Globe,
"Mann has written a landmark of a book that drops ingrained images of colonial America into the dustbin one after the other, such as that of the Pilgrims finding a pristine world of woodlands and guileless natives."
by Providence Journal,
"A must-read survey course of pre-Columbian history — current, meticulously researched, distilling volumes into single chapters to give general readers a broad view of the subject."
by Los Angeles Times,
"[A] concise and brilliantly entertaining thesis. I don't agree with all his big conclusions, but 1491 makes me think of history in a new way."
Mann offers a groundbreaking study that radically alters readers' understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492.
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