1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

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 live A groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans ...

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Title:1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Author:Charles C. Mann
Rating:
Genres:History
ISBN:1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:541 pages pages

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Reviews

  • Aili
    Aug 23, 2007

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

  • David
    Dec 22, 2010

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

  • Ian
    Jul 06, 2007

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

  • Brendan
    Sep 13, 2007

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

  • John
    Jun 22, 2008

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

  • Ken-ichi
    Nov 28, 2007

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

  • Douglas Hunter
    Jul 27, 2007

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

  • Todd N
    Nov 26, 2011

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

    Glyptodonts, caliche and zoonotic. Sounds like a law firm hell doesn?t it? Alas, it is only some of the terms Charles Mann digs up discussing pre-Columbian agriculture. (Digs up, get it? Never mind.) I?ve done my share of wandering the Yucatan. Unlike the civilizations of Rome o...

    I lost patience with this book with the section entitled Holmberg's Mistake. Charles Mann's contention is that the native indians of the Beni, an area in Bolivia, deliberately created a surprisingly complex region of plant biodiversitiy. So far, so good. Then Mann complains about the a...

    I remember being blown away by this book but unfortunately my notes (what I can find of them) from that time only consist of the following: p. 251 bison fire Ny-GA p. 256 weed crops food: maygrass patties, steamed knowt-weed beans, little barley p. 265 hickory nut milk -grind boil s...

    Charles C Mann attempts to publish information not widely available before, such as higher population counts of the natives of the New World than previously considered. Mann admits he is no professional historian. He respects his readers may giving them explanations and appendices. All...

    Popular history has been that America before Columbus was sparsely populated with the tribes here living in harmony with nature with little impact on the land. Archeology in the last several decades has raised significant challenges to this view. There is evidence that the population w...

    I appreciated this book for completely changing my perspective on the history of the Indigenous populations of the Americas. Too many points to enumerate here, but it will completely shift your frames of reference and alter the lenses with which you view this history. That said, I w...

    I was blown away by the Terry Gross interview with the author about his other book, 1493. (Earthworms went extinct in North America during the Ice Age???) So I figured I should start with 1491 and get the full pre-Columbian experience. I was engrossed by this book to the point where...

  • Jason
    Aug 14, 2007

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

  • Kenny
    Jul 24, 2008

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

  • Felicia
    Dec 25, 2011

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

  • Nick
    Feb 27, 2008

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

  • Tripp
    Feb 02, 2008

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

  • Avis Black
    Oct 21, 2013

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

    Glyptodonts, caliche and zoonotic. Sounds like a law firm hell doesn?t it? Alas, it is only some of the terms Charles Mann digs up discussing pre-Columbian agriculture. (Digs up, get it? Never mind.) I?ve done my share of wandering the Yucatan. Unlike the civilizations of Rome o...

    I lost patience with this book with the section entitled Holmberg's Mistake. Charles Mann's contention is that the native indians of the Beni, an area in Bolivia, deliberately created a surprisingly complex region of plant biodiversitiy. So far, so good. Then Mann complains about the a...

  • Erik Graff
    Oct 29, 2010

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

  • Paige
    Sep 18, 2008

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

  • Stefan
    Aug 01, 2008

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

  • Gordon
    Mar 15, 2009

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

  • Jason Koivu
    Nov 22, 2008

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

  • Patrick Gibson
    Mar 03, 2009

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

    Glyptodonts, caliche and zoonotic. Sounds like a law firm hell doesn?t it? Alas, it is only some of the terms Charles Mann digs up discussing pre-Columbian agriculture. (Digs up, get it? Never mind.) I?ve done my share of wandering the Yucatan. Unlike the civilizations of Rome o...

  • Bruce
    Jan 12, 2009

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

  • Relstuart
    Jun 25, 2017

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

    Glyptodonts, caliche and zoonotic. Sounds like a law firm hell doesn?t it? Alas, it is only some of the terms Charles Mann digs up discussing pre-Columbian agriculture. (Digs up, get it? Never mind.) I?ve done my share of wandering the Yucatan. Unlike the civilizations of Rome o...

    I lost patience with this book with the section entitled Holmberg's Mistake. Charles Mann's contention is that the native indians of the Beni, an area in Bolivia, deliberately created a surprisingly complex region of plant biodiversitiy. So far, so good. Then Mann complains about the a...

    I remember being blown away by this book but unfortunately my notes (what I can find of them) from that time only consist of the following: p. 251 bison fire Ny-GA p. 256 weed crops food: maygrass patties, steamed knowt-weed beans, little barley p. 265 hickory nut milk -grind boil s...

    Charles C Mann attempts to publish information not widely available before, such as higher population counts of the natives of the New World than previously considered. Mann admits he is no professional historian. He respects his readers may giving them explanations and appendices. All...

    Popular history has been that America before Columbus was sparsely populated with the tribes here living in harmony with nature with little impact on the land. Archeology in the last several decades has raised significant challenges to this view. There is evidence that the population w...

  • N.K. Jemisin
    Feb 14, 2010

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

  • Alex
    Feb 02, 2010

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

  • Hadrian
    Aug 11, 2010

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

  • Heather
    Mar 09, 2018

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

    Glyptodonts, caliche and zoonotic. Sounds like a law firm hell doesn?t it? Alas, it is only some of the terms Charles Mann digs up discussing pre-Columbian agriculture. (Digs up, get it? Never mind.) I?ve done my share of wandering the Yucatan. Unlike the civilizations of Rome o...

    I lost patience with this book with the section entitled Holmberg's Mistake. Charles Mann's contention is that the native indians of the Beni, an area in Bolivia, deliberately created a surprisingly complex region of plant biodiversitiy. So far, so good. Then Mann complains about the a...

    I remember being blown away by this book but unfortunately my notes (what I can find of them) from that time only consist of the following: p. 251 bison fire Ny-GA p. 256 weed crops food: maygrass patties, steamed knowt-weed beans, little barley p. 265 hickory nut milk -grind boil s...

    Charles C Mann attempts to publish information not widely available before, such as higher population counts of the natives of the New World than previously considered. Mann admits he is no professional historian. He respects his readers may giving them explanations and appendices. All...

    Popular history has been that America before Columbus was sparsely populated with the tribes here living in harmony with nature with little impact on the land. Archeology in the last several decades has raised significant challenges to this view. There is evidence that the population w...

    I appreciated this book for completely changing my perspective on the history of the Indigenous populations of the Americas. Too many points to enumerate here, but it will completely shift your frames of reference and alter the lenses with which you view this history. That said, I w...

  • Ryan Moulton
    Jun 15, 2013

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

  • Hana
    Dec 05, 2013

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

  • Shira
    Mar 23, 2014

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

    Glyptodonts, caliche and zoonotic. Sounds like a law firm hell doesn?t it? Alas, it is only some of the terms Charles Mann digs up discussing pre-Columbian agriculture. (Digs up, get it? Never mind.) I?ve done my share of wandering the Yucatan. Unlike the civilizations of Rome o...

    I lost patience with this book with the section entitled Holmberg's Mistake. Charles Mann's contention is that the native indians of the Beni, an area in Bolivia, deliberately created a surprisingly complex region of plant biodiversitiy. So far, so good. Then Mann complains about the a...

    I remember being blown away by this book but unfortunately my notes (what I can find of them) from that time only consist of the following: p. 251 bison fire Ny-GA p. 256 weed crops food: maygrass patties, steamed knowt-weed beans, little barley p. 265 hickory nut milk -grind boil s...

  • Cynda
    Nov 30, 2014

    The survey of current thinking on the population of the americas via that Beringia land bridge and the subsequent summary of the evolutions of early american society is interesting. But the repeated comparisons between american society and eurasian society are really fraught and oft...

    This was like a coloring book of pre-Pilgrim North America for me in that it filled in a lot of unanswered questions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines. It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like s...

    As someone who writes professionally in this area (unabashed plug: watch for God's Mercies, Doubleday Canada, in October 07) I have high praise for this title, a long-overdue assessment of native culture and civilization before (and at) contact with Europeans. I'm still reading it, but...

    Very well written, a good mixture of factual evidence and narrative. The main take home point here should be known to everyone, especially Americans. There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus' landing and a permanent European settlement in North America. Na...

    See updated alternative reading recommendations below. Well, I finally finished it. There were some interesting factoids, such as the theory that much of the Amazon rainforest was planted by humans, but even then the data were not marshaled in a convincing, coherent fashion. Over al...

    In brief: I felt this was an adequate, often fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present-day historians and scientists. I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side o...

    Fascinating exploration of what we know of the "New World" before Columbus arrived. I knew pretty much nothing about the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and all the other societies that actually were possibly BIGGER than Europe in 1492, and dwarfed it in centuries before. It's also an i...

    Author Charles Mann's purpose is to debunk three commonly held ideas about the Americas before Columbus: that the continents were sparsely populated, that the social and technical development was limited and that the locals left the environment untouched. In discussing scholarly deb...

    This book could be good. Unfortunately the author seems determined in every part of his "research" to interject his own opinion without duly backing it up. I stopped reading it somewhere around page 100, where the author makes the comparison between ritual human sacrifice by the Aztecs...

    Let me start by noting that Mann is a journalist, rather than a historian or cultural anthropologist. This results in a work that is extremely accessible to the non specialist reader and lacking in jargon. So much of our notions of what North America was like before Europeans arriv...

    Mindblowing. Everyone should read this book. It's amazing to me how much historians got wrong -- and what this book illuminates is why historians get such things wrong. Some of it is flat-out racism and ethnocentrism -- historians' tendency to dismiss oral tradition as crap, for exampl...

    Confession: I never finished this, leaving about 50 pages (about 15%)on the table. With non-fiction books that are based around a particular theory I feel like as long as I read enough to internalize the argument and really understand some of the evidence I can stop reading when I get ...

    A necessary and interesting corrective to popular perceptions on the 'pre-Columbian' eras of the American continent. Many may have already doubted the old narrative of Natives being 'uncivilized' and the stereotype of being 'communal with nature' and the 'noble savage', when they have ...

    I am rethinking my review and giving this the highest rating. This book has really stayed with me in the months since I read it. I'm always a sucker for prehistory stuff, people speculating on history and social structure and motivations for doing things when all you have to go on are ...

    So the major thing to note here is that this is a history of the inhabitants of pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere... written by a feature journalist. It has a lot of straight history, but also a lot of information gleaned from non-standard or new techniques, such as archaeology, forensi...

    Mann is not a historian, but rather is a journalist. And for that reason, this book does read like a history text (like Guns, Germs, and Steel). But it is exceptionally researched and fantastic. Mann describes North and South America in a way that traditional textbooks and contempor...

    This is an excellent book that describes the civilizations in North, Central, and South America before (and shortly after) the arrival of Columbus. Many facets of these civilizations are quite impressive. For example, the agricultural method of inter-planting different species of crops...

    Every now and again a book comes along that fundamentally changes my perspective about something big, and this is one of them. Theres a reason why the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and found the forests nicely felled, the fields already cleared, and cac...

    Tom Miley told me to read his copy of this book while I was visiting him and his family in San Francisco. It was an excellent suggestion. Rarely have I read a book filled with so much information contrary to what I thought I knew. 1491 basically summarizes recent researches suggesti...

    As a result of decades of revisionist history (as well as flat-out incorrect but sincere assumptions by scientists), most people have come to see pre-Columbian America as an Edenic wilderness inhabited by pure-hearted indigenous folk living lightly on the land, leaving nary a footprint...

    This book is a fascinating window into the cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Author Charles Mann, an award-winning writer for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, debunks many widely held notions about the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. With a contagious exc...

    I didn't know any of this shit! There were, like, tons and tons of Native Americans,in huge, modern cities, all over the place! They were making huge monuments at Cahokia that are still there! The Aztecs had running water! They were farming the Amazon! Everything you learned about ...

    Everyone who lives in the Americas ought to read this book, particularly during Thanksgiving when schools impart our mythology to the next generation. In writing this, Charles Mann intended to simply summarize the consensus opinion of modern researchers about what the Americas were ...

    Glyptodonts, caliche and zoonotic. Sounds like a law firm hell doesn?t it? Alas, it is only some of the terms Charles Mann digs up discussing pre-Columbian agriculture. (Digs up, get it? Never mind.) I?ve done my share of wandering the Yucatan. Unlike the civilizations of Rome o...

    I lost patience with this book with the section entitled Holmberg's Mistake. Charles Mann's contention is that the native indians of the Beni, an area in Bolivia, deliberately created a surprisingly complex region of plant biodiversitiy. So far, so good. Then Mann complains about the a...

    I remember being blown away by this book but unfortunately my notes (what I can find of them) from that time only consist of the following: p. 251 bison fire Ny-GA p. 256 weed crops food: maygrass patties, steamed knowt-weed beans, little barley p. 265 hickory nut milk -grind boil s...

    Charles C Mann attempts to publish information not widely available before, such as higher population counts of the natives of the New World than previously considered. Mann admits he is no professional historian. He respects his readers may giving them explanations and appendices. All...