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Columbus Was Last: From 200,000 BC to 1492, A Heretical History of Who Was First

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933665016
ISBN-10: 1933665017
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This is the first paperback edition of this highly praised book. Just look at what the reviewers have said:

"The best book so far to answer the question 'Who discovered America?'...This important, spell-binding report replaces sugar-coated myths about Columbus's invasion of America with indispensable history." --Publishers Weekly

"A thoughtful and challenging consideration of the many voyagers who might have reached the Americas by sea before the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria...Well informed and well written, always provocative if not conclusive, this is revisionist history with a vengeance --and about time, too." --Kirkus Reviews

"Persuasively and emphatically disputes the fact that Columbus actually discovered America...A long-overdue tribute to a score of forgotten and disregarded explorers, adventurers, and sailors. Highly recommended..." --Booklist

About the Author

Patrick Huyghe is a writer, editor, and television producer. He spent two decades writing about science for magazines from Omni to Discover; produced television documentaries for WGBH and WNET; and is the author of nine books.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Anomalist Books (November 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933665017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933665016
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,349,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Huyghe begins by reviewing the growing evidence for early settlement of the Americas which is becoming the new paradigm. This establishes that civilization that had a longer time to advance than previously thought, but as Huyghe reminds us, the many differences among "native" populations suggest "the impact of transoceanic latecomers."

Readers will be fascinated by the possibility of Chinese surveyors Ta-Chang and Shu-Hai exploring America over 4000 years ago as recorded in the Chinese Shan Hai Ching texts. This isn't the voyage detailed in Gavin Menzies' book 1421: The year China Discovered America. As he does elsewhere, Huyghe usually doesn't shy away from controversy, here noting the problems with dating and difficulties with matching the text with real locales. The text does reveal locations and peoples that could very well be on this side of the Pacific.

Northeast of Toronto in Peterbourgh is an inscription attributed to early Norse traders 3500 years ago. Such voyages would explain where all of the tons of copper mined from the Lake Superior region went to: Bronze Age Europe. The author then reviews a large sampling of inscriptions found around the Western Hemisphere attributed to Celts, Libyans and others.

He includes more intriguing Chinese voyages, to possible Roman contacts to Polynesians who seem to have left their mark. Plant life found in countries other than their origin. Architecture and artifacts nearly identical to that of foreign lands. One begins to wonder why more scholars don't take such early voyages seriously. And of course, no book like this would be complete without the voyage of Irish monk St. Brendan.

If any voyage should be taken seriously, perhaps Brendan's is it.
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I like learning about politically incorrect history, but sadly most writers today are unorganized and seem to be pushing their agendas on their readers without good evidence to support them. However, this was not the case in this book.

Even though I have done my own personal studying about pre-Columbian America and some of this stuff was not new to me, it was nonetheless fascinating. Huyghe dedicates entire chapters to a specific people, and he offers good evidence for them having been in America before Columbus. Unlike his peers, Huyghe is willing to mention problems with these theories and to show both sides of the issue; he allows for the reader to determine if the evidence is good enough or if it's not real. The book itself was well-written and well-organized, making it easy to read and understand.

A minor nitpicky thing is that I'm surprised Huyghe didn't mention the Solutrean theory, which says that Europeans during the Ice Age sailed to America along the ice sheets and settled the area several centuries before the Asiatic peoples arrived. Despite this, Huyghe was detailed and offered some interesting facts. I really enjoyed reading this book.
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"Columbus Was Last" is an excellent read for those curious about the pre-recorded (or was it?) history of the Americas. The chapters are both good storytelling and introductory research that engages the reader and has him/her wanting to learn more. The author undeniably leaves the reader asking more questions than there are answers. There is just enough in each of the chapters to provide the inquisitive something to chew on and digest, without being too incredibly detailed in minute or trivial factoids. For the serious researcher of American pre-history, this is recommended reading as a preview for further research that suits your particular interest.

For one to really understand the greater history of the world, this book makes a good argument to include the Americas as a bigger part in it than what most academic researchers and scholars have been giving it for the past several centuries. Perhaps it is time to open up the minds - and the textbooks of our colleges and high school history programs and rethink how we are teaching the history of the Americas...there truly is so much out there that needs to be told, yet the facts have been largely ignored or suppressed.

While some subjects are and will remain controversial, it is through controversy that we gain new thoughts and ideas, and confirm or deny things to be true. As a human society, what we really know about ourselves only goes back a few thousand years. And, in those few thousand years, we have only recorded a very small percentage of all the cultures and peoples that have lived and dies on this Earth. Books like this give the opportunity for discovery learning.

This book leaves the reader no doubt that the Americas have been "discovered" over and over again, and is a worthwhile introductory read that will lead curious minds towards more detailed researh studies and publications.

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What really worked for me was that Mr. Huyghes is able to balance an open-minded viewpoint with rational skepticism. Add to that a comprehensiveness that is (as far as I know) unparalleled and you have a book that is truly unique.

Anyone interested in the early history of the Americans owes it to themselves to pick this up. It is not only a fantastic introduction to some of the more under-reported research in this area, it is also quite readable.
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