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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Paperback – October 10, 2006
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“A journalistic masterpiece.”
—The New York Review of Books
“Marvelous. . . . A sweeping portrait of human life in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. . . . A remarkably engaging writer.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Fascinating. . . . A landmark of a book that drops ingrained images of colonial American into the dustbin, one after the other.”
—The Boston Globe
“A ripping, man-on-the-ground tour of a world most of us barely intuit. . . . An exhilarating shift in perspective. . . . 1491 erases our myth of a wilderness Eden. It replaces that fallacy with evidence of a different genesis, exciting and closer to true.”
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Mann tells a powerful, provocative and important story. . . . 1491 vividly compels us to re-examine how we teach the ancient history of the Americas and how we live with the environmental consequences of colonization.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Engagingly written and utterly absorbing. . . . Part detective story, part epic and part tragedy.”
—The Miami Herald
“Provocative. . . . A Jared Diamond-like volley that challenges prevailing thinking about global development. Mann has chronicled an important shift in our vision of world development, one out young children could end up studying in their text books when they reach junior high.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Marvelous. . . . A revelation. . . . Our concept of pure wilderness untouched by grubby human hands must now be jettisoned.”
—The New York Sun
“Monumental. . . . Mann slips in so many fresh, new interpretations of American history that it all adds up to a deeply subversive work.”
“Concise and brilliantly entertaining. . . . Reminiscent of John McPhee's eloquence with scientific detail.”
—Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Charles C. Mann, a correspondent for The Atlantic, Science, and Wired, has written for Fortune, The New York Times, Smithsonian, Technology Review, Vanity Fair, and The Washington Post, as well as for the TV network HBO and the series Law & Order. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he is the recipient of writing awards from the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Physics, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. His 1491 won the National Academies Communication Award for the best book of the year. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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Unlike 1493, which I thought was unfocused, 1491 stays on message despite the enormous amount of detail crammed into this volume. For those of us who once viewed the "New World" as a virtually uninhabited Eden at the time of Columbus's arrival, think again. Mann refutes this mistaken idea in 500 pages of excruciating, well-documented detail. In its place the author serves up a picture of lost civilizations that were highly evolved for their time even in comparison with Europe and Asia. Why misconceptions about the New World developed and why these civilizations disappeared are questions that Mann addresses in both 1491 and 1493. These books together leave us to ponder the fate of these civilizations and what might have been had conditions been different.
I love the USA like millions of others and want to see it go forward to a shining future, but to get there we will have to do a lot of rethinking.
I really like this book; it's well-written and informative without being 'preachy'. The author doesn't try to persuade the reader to adopt a political viewpoint - the book doesn't advance an agenda.
This book and its' companion, "1493" are an example of history-writing at its' best. While reading '1493', I read pages that told of matters and thoughts I had never known before.
I totally recommend these two books.
Read it and have your foundational beliefs questioned!
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It is not my kind of book