1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

ISBN-10: 1400032059

ISBN-13: 9781400032051

Edition: 2nd 2006

Authors: Charles C. Mann

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Description:

A groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492. Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbus’s landing had crossed the Bering Strait twelve thousand years ago; existed mainly in small, nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas was, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last thirty years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong. In a book that startles and persuades, Mann reveals how a new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques came to previously unheard-of conclusions. Among them: • In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe. • Certain cities–such as Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital–were far greater in population than any contemporary European city. Furthermore, Tenochtitlán, unlike any capital in Europe at that time, had running water, beautiful botanical gardens, and immaculately clean streets. • The earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids. • Pre-Columbian Indians in Mexico developed corn by a breeding process so sophisticated that the journal Science recently described it as “man’s first, and perhaps the greatest, feat of genetic engineering.” • Amazonian Indians learned how to farm the rain forest without destroying it–a process scientists are studying today in the hope of regaining this lost knowledge. • Native Americans transformed their land so completely that Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively “landscaped” by human beings. Mann sheds clarifying light on the methods used to arrive at these new visions of the pre-Columbian Americas and how they have affected our understanding of our history and our thinking about the environment. His book is an exciting and learned account of scientific inquiry and revelation.
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Book details

List price: $17.00
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/10/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 576
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.452
Language: English

Charles C. Mann is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, Science, and Wired. He has also written for Fortune, The New York Times, Smithsonian, Technology Review, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, the television network HBO, and the television series Law and Order. He has received writing awards from the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Physics, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. He has written or co-written several books including The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics, The Aspirin Wars: Money, Medicine, and 100 Years of Rampant Competition, Noah's Choice: The Future of Endangered Species, At Large: The Strange Case of the Internet's Biggest Invasion, and 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created which made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2012. His book, 1491, won the National Academies Communication Award for the best book of the year.

List of Maps
Preface
Introduction Holmberg’s Mistake
A View from Above
Numbers from Nowhere?
Why Billington Survived
In the Land of Four Quarters
Frequently Asked Questions
Pleistocene Wars
Cotton (or Anchovies) and Maize (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part I)
Writing, Wheels, and Bucket Brigades (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part II)
Landscape with Figures
Made in America
Amazonia
The Artificial Wilderness
The Great Law of Peace
Appendixes
Loaded Words
Talking Knots
The Syphilis Exception
Calendar Math
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index
From the Hardcover edition
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