New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Paperback - 2006
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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.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2006.
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed.
ISBN: 9781400032051
Branch Call Number: 970.011
Characteristics: xiii, 541 p. : ill., maps ; 21 cm.


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mvkramer Sep 01, 2016

When people say nonfiction can't move you - they are liars. This book opened my mind and broke my heart. Long story short - indigenous societies were more advanced, complex and prosperous than your high school history teacher told you. Sadly, about 90% of the people were wiped out by disease after contact with Europeans. Their works were largely forgotten, replaced by the image of the timeless, simple, "savage" Native American. This book is amazing. I highly recommend it to anyone with even the vaguest interest in history.

Feb 20, 2016

A very educational read that explores the great mystery of American indigenous civilizations. The author makes some startling points and raises some intersecting questions. This book is a must read if you have interest in this fascinating topic.

Sep 16, 2013


Aug 18, 2012

There are many new revelations in this book, but unfortunately they are announced over and over again with little concern for the pacing and impact of the information. It's important reading for anyone that wants to get a better sense of just what the Europeans destroyed when they invaded this continent, but it's the information, and not the writing that will keep you reading through the entire book.

An exceptional historical according of the people of the Americas before european influence, as well as the effects there of. A great read for anyone who finds anthropology fascinating.

And I would hope no one puts any weight into the comment below that fails to even spell fantasy properly, Mann did his work, and it's citable from the bibliography.

Feb 22, 2012

1491 New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus --- by Charles Mann. This is a prodigious and ambitious work. The book is of gigantic proportions: over three hundred and fifty pages of gripping text and ambitious in scope: the history, or should we say the prehistory of the peoples, cultures, states and practices of the inhabitants of North America, Middle America and South America from its earliest inhabitants at the end of the Pleistocene era who have left barely a trace of their presence on the continents to those who encountered those strangers on their shores just after 1492. The book looks at some of those peoples with which we are undoubtedly familiar such as the Incas and the Aztecs to those with which we may perhaps be unfamiliar such as the Wari and the Taino Indians. In spite of being about prehistory, Archaeology, Geography, Ethnology and more, it is, none the less an eminently readable book that is hard to put down. In fact, there is a lot of fiction that pales by comparison with this book. It is spellbinding.

May 05, 2011

Fascinating subject. The author does a good job of presenting different sides of the various arguments about what the pre-Columbus Western Hemisphere was like. He also does well at noting when he is relating opinion vs. fact. The book is a fast read, with a number of interesting vignettes.

The only real weakness was with the author's last topic, Democracy. I feel he doesn't support with much evidence his final contention that pre-existing Indian societies significantly influenced contemporary and modern views of Democracy.

That's a minor nitpick. I highly recommend this book.

May 09, 2010

A real revelation!

Oct 27, 2008

more fanticy than fact

Sep 29, 2008

A very compelling read. The Americas before Columbus was teeming with millions of natives before smallpox and other European diseases wiped out nearly 95 per cent of the population. If not for the decimation by the diseases, the Americas would have been very different today.


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Sep 29, 2008

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