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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before…

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (edition 2005)

by Charles C. Mann (Author)

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5,6271561,286 (4.17)1 / 261
Mann shows how a new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques have come to previously unheard-of conclusions about the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans: In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe. Certain cities--such as Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital--were greater in population than any European city. 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. Native Americans transformed their land so completely that Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively "landscaped" by human beings. Pre-Columbian Indians in Mexico developed corn by a breeding process that the journal Science recently described as "man's first, and perhaps the greatest, feat of genetic engineering."--From publisher description.… (more)
Title:1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Authors:Charles C. Mann (Author)
Info:Knopf (2005), 480 pages
Collections:Your library, Wishlist

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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

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English (150)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (155)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
Even more pleasurable to read than Jared Diamond mainly because the tone is less academic, but the writing maintains authority and poise. Finished it and immediately wanted to read it over again. Stuffed with eye opening info about the americas. ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
I first came across what became this book as a piece in the Atlantic but actually it could have been an excerpt. Either way I came across this book the beginnings of it or a part in and around 2003ish? The longform piece that appeared in the Atlantic was totally engaging and went in a very engaging style told the story of research fieldwork and interviews with experts new research about the Americas before Columbus. It also had very interesting sections on how the culture of the people of the americas and their control of nature lead to how the hybrid-Spaniard city planning took form and the way in which ancient city planning of early america peoples. Charles C. Mann is a John McPhee level nonfiction writer weaving in personal experience and insights with detail big and small and characterization of the people he interacts with to tell a compelling well researched story of what the americas were like before 1491 contact and how the hybrid cultures that resulted resonate to the pre-1941 era especially in city planning, use of space, and farming.

Compelling from start to finish. Charles C. Mann is immensely enjoyable and engaging to read. ( )
  modioperandi | Jun 8, 2020 |
1491 is an interesting look at the archaeological evidence regarding ecology, population density, and lifestyles before the Columbian exchange. the bibliography is formidable, and the evidence appears to be overwhelming that the introduction of European disease severely damaged not only the civilizations, but the physical landscapes of the western hemisphere. Into the bargain, the writing is remarkably entertaining for such a well researched book. Have an insightful experience by reading this book. ( )
  DinadansFriend | May 25, 2020 |
A bit dry and at times deeply boring, but overall a major thought-changer, which is the point. ( )
  Jetztzeit | May 15, 2020 |
Profoundly fascinating to me as both an environmentalist and a human. I will never look at history or human ecology the same way again. ( )
  dreamweaversunited | Apr 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
Mann has written an impressive and highly readable book. Even though one can disagree with some of his inferences from the data, he does give both sides of the most important arguments. 1491 is a fitting tribute to those Indians, present and past, whose cause he is championing.
Mann has chronicled an important shift in our vision of world development, one our young children could end up studying in their textbooks when they reach junior high.

Mann does not present his thesis as an argument for unrestrained development. It is an argument, though, for human management of natural lands and against what he calls the "ecological nihilism" of insisting that forests be wholly untouched.
Mann's style is journalistic, employing the vivid (and sometimes mixed) metaphors of popular science writing: "Peru is the cow-catcher on the train of continental drift. . . . its coastline hits the ocean floor and crumples up like a carpet shoved into a chairleg." Similarly, the book is not a comprehensive history, but a series of reporter's tales: He describes personal encounters with scientists in their labs, archaeologists at their digs, historians in their studies and Indian activists in their frustrations. Readers vicariously share Mann's exposure to fire ants and the tension as his guide's plane runs low on fuel over Mayan ruins. These episodes introduce readers to the debates between older and newer scholars. Initially fresh, the journalistic approach eventually falters as his disorganized narrative rambles forward and backward through the centuries and across vast continents and back again, producing repetition and contradiction. The resulting blur unwittingly conveys a new sort of the old timelessness that Mann so wisely wishes to defeat.

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Charles C. Mannprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boraso, MarinaTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the woman in the next-door office--

Cloudlessly, like everything

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Preface: The seeds of this book date back, at least in part, to 1983, when I wrote an article for 'Science' about a NASA program that was monitoring atmospheric ozone levels.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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