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Customer Review

186 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me up past my bedtime, August 1, 2011
This review is from: 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (Hardcover)
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Charles Mann has a knack for making the details of history into fascinating reading, and this book did, indeed, keep me up reading past my bedtime. The book combines the results of his prodigious reading, his own travels and personal experiences, and his conversations with some of the leading scholars in the field.

On the heels of his earlier success (1491), Mann now turns to the post-Columbian world, and shows how Columbus's voyages brought about what Mann calls (rather inelegantly, perhaps) the "Homogenocene Age." We're all living in one world now, like it or not, and he explores how it got that way. The book doesn't attempt to be exhaustive, but goes into detail about some of the more interesting aspects of what scholars are now calling the "Columbian Exchange": a massive swap of plants, microorganisms, and animals (including humans). The period after Columbus brought about some of the most radical (and often surprising) changes in the nature of the world.

In some ways, the book recalls James Burkes' Connections television series. We see the unintended consequences and often unexpected results of seemingly minor events. The 1707 Union of Scotland and England turns out to be, quite possibly, partly the result of Panamanian mosquitoes, for example. And I learned a lot. We all know about the Puritans landing in New England, but I had no idea they also founded a colony off the coast of Nicaragua!
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 1, 2011 4:03:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 2, 2011 5:46:06 AM PDT
CGScammell says:
I just got my copy today and I hope you are right. Sounds like a great book. I'll add my review in a few days.

(edited to correct typo)

Posted on Mar 31, 2012 12:45:46 PM PDT
Liked the comparison to Burkes' Connections. Hadn't thought of that. Loved that show.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 7:15:52 PM PDT
Indeed, loved the comment, loved the show Connections
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