1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

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


Reviewed: 2019-05-17
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 strain
p. 333 Iroquoian Great law of Peace
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

19 February, 12016 HE

Updated with re-read: 6 August, 12017 HE

Wow to the first civilization being in Peru rather than Asia, based on seafood rather than agriculture and knocking all the Eurocentric archeologists for a loop,

Super wow to the existence of a body of literature in Nahua from the Mexica/Aztec and meso-American civilizations that is larger than the Greeks, and not yet translated,

Yikes to the pigs actually carrying dozens of diseases that are transmissible between them and not only us, but several of our domesticated animals as well, making Europeans far far more microbe resistant than North/South Americans. and the 3/4 Siberian death rate made a 90% death rate absolutely plausible in the Western hemisphere: pigs :-(

What a sad but also incredibly awe-inspiring second read, but this time I really remembered his comments about the works of art cut short by the Conquistadores...
Very very sad for Humanity.
6th of August, 12017 HE
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