1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Paperback Vintage

By (author) Charles C Mann

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 541 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 201mm x 30mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 18 August 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1400032059
  • ISBN 13: 9781400032051
  • Illustrations note: HALFTONES THROUGHOUT
  • Sales rank: 22,498

Product description

In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man's first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.

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Author information

Charles C. Mann is a correspondent for "Science" and "The Atlantic Monthly, " and has co-written four previous books including "Noah's Choice: The Future of Endangered Species "and "The Second Creation." A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he has won awards from the American Bar Association, the Margaret Sanger Foundation, the American Institute of Physics, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, among others. His writing was twice selected for both "The Best American Science Writing "and "The Best American Science and Nature Writing. "He lives with his wife and their children in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Review quote

" 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." - "Salon" " Concise and brilliantly entertaining... reminiscent of John McPhee's eloquence with scientific detail." - "The Los Angeles Times"

Table of contents

List of Maps Preface INTRODUCTION / Holmberg’s Mistake 1. A View from Above PART ONE / Numbers from Nowhere? 2. Why Billington Survived 3. In the Land of Four Quarters 4. Frequently Asked Questions PART TWO / Very Old Bones 5. Pleistocene Wars 6. Cotton (or Anchovies) and Maize (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part I) 7. Writing, Wheels, and Bucket Brigades (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part II) PART THREE / Landscape with Figures 8. Made in America 9. Amazonia 10. The Artificial Wilderness 11. The Great Law of Peace Appendixes A. Loaded Words B. Talking Knots C. The Syphilis Exception D. Calendar Math Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index From the Hardcover edition.