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The American Discovery of Europe Hardcover – March 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fascinating book that makes an important . . . contribution to the subject of pre-Columbian contacts between America and Europe. . . . Highly recommended."

--Choice



"Provocative. . . . Turning the concept of 'discovers' on its head, Forbes dispels a lot of common assumptions about who 'discovered' whom in the Americas, in an extensive and fascinating exploration of early maritime histories of the Native Americans."

--Bloomsbury Review



"Interesting and thought provoking. . . . [Forbes] raises many significant questions."

--American Anthropologist

Book Description

An independent and indigenous revision of established history

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252031520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252031526
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,673,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karl Janssen on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
In this fascinating book, published in 2007, author Jack D. Forbes brings to light many possible incidents of pre-Columbian travel from the New World to the Old. While a transatlantic crossing from East to West was an arduous and perilous voyage for early European mariners, Forbes argues that a journey in the opposite direction was much easier due to the assistance of the Gulf Stream current. He also asserts that Native Americans certainly had the nautical expertise to pull off intercontinental voyages, and their traversing of the Atlantic may not have been merely haphazard and accidental, but rather habitual and systematic.

The first American visitors to Europe were inanimate objects--logs, seeds, carved wooden objects, and the occasional corpse. The Irish port of Galway, positioned like a Gulf Stream catcher's mitt, was the landing ground of much of this flotsam and jetsam, so much so in fact that some residents were able to build their houses with American wood. It was in Galway, in 1477, that Christopher Columbus met two Native American voyagers who had drifted into the harbor in boats constructed of dugout logs. Due to his mistaken conception of geography, Columbus thought these travelers were inhabitants of Cathay (China), but Forbes provides copious documentary evidence to indicate that they were, in fact, Americans. Forbes argues quite persuasively that Columbus's contact with these American visitors was instrumental in influencing his decision to make his monumental journey 15 years later.

It's already common knowledge, of course, that Columbus was not the first European in America. Norse mariners had founded settlements in Greenland and Newfoundland as early as the 10th century.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By F S Frederick on August 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first the title seems silly, but Dr. Forbes makes a very well written and convincing case for Native American being active sailors. He shows that the American Indians were reaching Europe, etc., entirely on their own.

Most diffusion books that I've read seem to assume that the Native Americans were so dumb that someone else had to teach them the basics of life. This was not the case. The Native Americans were perfectly capable of designing their civilizations/cultures entirely on their own, without outside help. They probably independently invented agriculture, architecture, weaving, pottery, sacred symbols/writing, and all the other attributes of human cultures. And, while there were many outside influences for several thousand years, the outside influences mainly had superficial effect.

Dr Forbes writes that the American Indians were the ones doing most of the contacts between the Americas and Eurasia & Africa. From what I've read, I think it was a two way street.

For a fuller understanding, I recommend reading the following:

AMERICAN INDIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD EMORY KEOKE & KAY PORTERFIELD CHECKMARK 2003
INDIAN GIVERS JACK WEATHERFORD CROWN PUB 1988

NATIVE ROOTS JACK WEATHERFORD CROWN PUB 1991
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John L. on January 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In the 1960's many of us then in the field of New World Archaeology were discussing the automatic assumption byu the descendants of European invaders of the "new" world that all things diffused from Europe to the Amerivas. The fact that the dates that were being discovered for things like the Arctic Small Tool Tradition were all "wrong" didn't seem to be having an impact.

Early Man sites in the "new" world were automatically dismissed because everybody knew all such sites were in Africa, Europe or Asia. Of course one of the biggest objections to such sitew was, though not voiced, that it wasn't the critic who had discovered them.

Thanks Jack Forbes. Well done!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A subject that was forgotten for centuries. It failed to accompany long descriptions with updated maps and graphs. Today we know a lot more about ocean currents that support archeological data.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard S. Ketcham on July 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The American Discovery of Europe by Jack D. Forbes is a must have for anyone interested in American history. The legacy given us by the First Americans is rarely taught in school. Thanks Mr. Forbes for preserving our true heritage!
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