1491

New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Paperback, 560 pages

English language

Published Oct. 9, 2006 by Vintage.

ISBN:
978-1-4000-3205-1
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4 stars (75 reviews)

A groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492.Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbus's landing had crossed the Bering Strait twelve thousand years ago; existed mainly in small, nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas was, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last thirty years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong.In a book that startles and persuades, Mann reveals how a new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques came to previously unheard-of conclusions. Among them:- In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe.- Certain cities--such as Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital--were far greater in population …

17 editions

Excellent Book

5 stars

I know basically nothing about Native American history, but this book gave me a true appreciation for the history, culture, and technology of those that we stole land from. It took me quite a while to get through this book, but it's well worth it. It is interesting, full of fun anecdotes, and will give you something that is left out of our history books.

Must Read History Book

5 stars

This book gathers decades of research into pre-Columbian life in the Americas in ways that completely upend popular knowledge on the subject. Mann treats the subjects with the correct amount of respect and rigorous scholarship. He shares the outstanding achievements and complex societies present by 1491. I consider myself a historian and have an interest in pre-history, but knew maybe 5-10% of the topics covered by Mann.

If you want to start de-colonizing your perceptions and knowledge, this is an extremely accessible place to start. After this, seek out books by indigenous authors.

A genuine "must read"

5 stars

This is deservedly a classic work of history even though it is recent. We believe all sorts of things that just are not true about the world of the western hemisphere. Much of this is due to essential racism, since we cannot believe that the people who lived here before the Europeans arrived could have developed large and complex societies. But as this book shows, they did indeed. And it was not our superior civilization, or gunpowder, or other military advantages of the Europeans that allowed them to conquer this hemisphere, it was their diseases that brought down what was in some ways a superior civilization.

Review of '1491' on Goodreads

4 stars

1) "At the heart of the new Qosqo was the plaza of Awkaypata, 625 feet by 550 feet, carpeted almost in its entirety with white sand carried in from the Pacific and raked daily by the city's army of workers. Monumental villas and temples surrounded the space on three sides, their walls made from immense blocks of stone so precisely cut and fit that Pizarro's younger cousin Pedro, who accompanied the conqueror as a page, reported 'that the point of a pin could not have been inserted in one of the joints.' Across their facades ran enormous plates of polished gold. When the alpine sun filled Awkaypata, with its boldly delineated horizontal plain of white sand and sloping sheets of gold, the space became an amphitheater for the exaltation of light."

2) "Nobody knows how many died during the pandemics of the 1770s and 1780s, but even if one had …

Review of '1491' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Human history is replete with tragedy. But when we're talking the annihilation (both intentional and inadvertent) of entire civilizations; when those civilizations have no written records or their records are deliberately destroyed; when an entire hemisphere's cultures vanish with barely a ripple; I think we need a better word than tragedy.

This is a must-read. Some material will be familiar; the majority may not be but should be. I'm not arguing that everything in the book is correct, merely that there seems to be worthy scholarly debate about the standard narrative. Time and science and research will build upon this knowledge, and probably only add to the heartbreak.

Mann's writing can be dense at times, and his forays into moral culpability are IMHO unnecessary, hence the four stars. The material itself is five. Recommended.

Review of '1491' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is deservedly a classic work of history even though it is recent. We believe all sorts of things that just are not true about the world of the western hemisphere. Much of this is due to essential racism, since we cannot believe that the people who lived here before the Europeans arrived could have developed large and complex societies. But as this book shows, they did indeed. And it was not our superior civilization, or gunpowder, or other military advantages of the Europeans that allowed them to conquer this hemisphere, it was their diseases that brought down what was in some ways a superior civilization.

Review of '1491' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

In "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus", author Charles C. Mann writes about new discoveries in the archaeological world that change the way we look at pre-Columbus Indians. This includes things as bedrock shaking as where they came from, how early they were here, how big their cities and civilizations were, right down to just how many there were and why the precipitous decline.

It would take too much to cover even a little bit of the overwhelming data thrown at you in this book. It is all written in a very colloquial way, with very little jargon or complex theories. There were quite a few colorfully arcane words used, but not technical ones. He did a very good job of describing what life must have been like in many of the various Mesoamerican societies, including of course the Inkas (sic), Mayan, and even large civilizations that predate …

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Subjects

  • History
  • North American
  • Americas
  • Native American

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