1493 is more world focused than 1491 and that's probably what makes it feel so much more unfocused than Charles Mann's original. However, that doesn't turn out to be a bad thing just a different thing.
I enjoyed it as much I did 1491, but differently.
Also, the audionbook narration is well within the bounds of acceptable. I did find that playing it on "faster" rather than "normal" on my iPod went down better (though I usually listen to books at normal speed).
What I liked best about this book was the narrative thread, and the way the author (who I think is a journalist, not a historian) developed his 'arguments' (really, his 'story') with an eye to keeping the reader interested.
What I liked least was that he spent very little time justifying his positions, providing sources, or describing any uncertainty about facts or interpretations. My own background on this period is limited, but some of what is baldly presented as 'fact' here, even I know is controversial (e.g., China's wealth in the 16th century, China's naval power). If you are considering reading this book, you should understand it is not a scholarly work, but is instead a journalist's attempt to synthesize and popularize scholarly work.
And Random House -- 'King' dynasty? Really? Can't you give your narrators a pronunciation guide?
Expected big things from this book. I'm a fan of historical writing but this was too dry for me. I plodded through it but it was a chore. You really need to have a passion for this subject to be captivated here.
Great concept but the writing plods along and the monotonous narrator only made it worse. I abandon very few books but this one just didn't live up to the billing. The author wastes a lot of time listing the achievements and affiliations of everyone cited or quoted. He should have left it for the footnotes and focussed on bringing the story alive. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this was a PhD thesis and if so, the book editor should have been more assertive about trimming the fat. I wondered at times what the content - such as the interminable description of Chinese commerce - had to do with the Columbian Exchange. If you like books of this nature, try Guns, Germs and Steel instead.
The information about the "Columbian Exchange" in all its complexity is presented in interesting and well-documented detail.
n/a This is a work of historical and geographical analysis, synthesis, and interpretation.
No--although I look forward to listening each time I pick it up.
As non-fiction goes, this book is easy to follow and remember. There is a fair amount of repetition but that aids the listener; references to future chapters are helpful.
I have been quoting information I have learned and have recommended this book to others since the day I began to listen to it.
Well-researched with interesting details.
Annoying pompous tone and bad pronunciation--whoever pronounces the Qing dynasty as "king" dynasty?
Yes; not sure
My only criticism of the book is that it can be difficult to keep up with due to the large list of people, places, time periods, etc. But of course it doesn't read like a novel because it isn't a novel. Instead this book covers a broad spectrum of fascinating revelations surrounding the history of the Columbian Exchange. At the end of the day, it's worth the read.
I enjoyed this book very much. Some may say it's similar to Guns, Germs, and Steel but unlike 1493 that that book suffered from Eurocentrism and over simplicity. The only gripe I had was a couple pronunciation issues: pronouncing Qin as 'kin' is one thing but saying 'Edinberg' for 'Edinburgh' is awful!
I read this book a few years ago, and I loved it. I like listening to it because I picked up a few things that I didn't remember from my first read. It tells a great story about how the world became connected in ways I never knew before after Columbus hit the new world. The narrator is very very good, but maybe just a little stilted in his reading. Overall I recommend this book highly to those interested in history.
Fascinating material...and you can never go wrong with Robertson Dean.
What happened to the audible edition of Mann's prequel, 1491? It appears to no longer be available for sale through audible.com.