read the dead tree of 1491 which is one of my favourite books ever. was excited to see this one available on audible. of course it would be impossible to duplicate the charms of the first, because the subject matter can only be drastically different.
interesting story of international politics and trade. being entirely unfamiliar with world events of this period aside from some basic of north america and europe myself, I found the details hard to follow, but that's my deficit, not the author's. I might try relistening sometime in an attempt to retain more information.
I have to say that I found the author's attitude toward indigenous people less sympathetic than in 1491. I'd be interested to know what the reason for this is. different editor? for example, be describes at length a mission into the Amazon by one of his ancestors as tragic because of the deaths of some Europeans, but does not seem to be as bothered by much greater losses of indigenous lives in the same time and place. if I didn't know better I wouldn't guess it was the same author as 1491. but these attitudes are tragically common and any reader interested in such histories will likely be used to disregarding these attitudes and reading between the lines, unfortunately. the stories contained here are worth looking past this fault.
Feel like I have been with Audible since the beginning, I listened to books about 2 hours a day and love each and every minute!
I think that 1493 is the best nonfiction book in my collection and my collection is 200+ titles. It intrigues the reader immediately and makes us question our narrow Western historical perspective. World historical context makes this book relevant and informative without the cultural bias that comes to too many historians.
The chapters on China and the effects of the Columbian Exchange were inspiring. The Ming dynasty topic was among my favourite.
I really like the choice in narration, it was never monotoned or boring, the reader gave inflection that pumped life into the material.
I was disarmed a bit by the views on colonization, the extent that the aboriginal and colonist relationship was examined, made me seriously rethink my prior stance.
Yes, this is a very informative book that covers many facets of the Colombian Exchange that effect us to this day. From the opening chapters discussing malaria to the silver trade with China and rubber plantations, I found this to be a page turner. A must read for anybody interested in economics, biology or just general history.
1491 - Read it if you like this one.
I have read this book and heard it on tape in my car. There reader generally does a quality job. I found him easy to listen to and he hit the right pace.
This is a scholarly work and I hesitate to use the term "moved you." However, the vivid historic imagery and interesting observations from the author do have a way of making you think about things that some might consider moving.
Charles Mann weaves a compelling narrative based on scientific historical evidence about the development of globalization following Christopher Columbus' rediscovery of the Americas. He focuses on the new diversity and unity of plant, animal, virus, and human life - using these facts to argue for a highly materialistic view of history. The narrative is compelling but cuts out many human elements often overlooked in such histories that attempt to be post-Western.
Yes, the contributions of Africans and the many tribes of pre-columbian and post-columbian "Indians" should not be overlooked - and this volume is excellent at bringing forth these oft overlooked events. It also rightly emphasizes China's economic woes at the time, which definitely had an impact on globalization. Nevertheless, Mann's neglect of "Western" ideas and institutions fundamentally weakens his account of globalization.
The book is narrated well, and a great study for those interested in the rise of globalization- it fills in gaps often left by more idea and institution focused accounts but should by no means be considered definitive.
Great account with many details of the post Columbus expedition. All those details are great in print but when read by Mr. Dean it gets a little tiresome. I decided to buy both the audio book and the print (author should be happy!), so I could look at the maps and photos, which are a very important part of the story. Mr. Dean needs to work on his pronunciation of Spanish words, but the audio editing is great. The book is very informative and with so many details, it's like an encyclopedia and it's difficult to follow only with the audio.
I have to give this 4 stars because it's just so darn impressive. The author clearly did his research, and he made the interwoven stories fascinating. Sometimes, however, the history became too complex to hold my attention. I would imagine that historians would find this more compelling.
I came away from the listen with a newly-found appreciation for how the Colombian Exchange began to interconnect the world, and I'm amazed at the impact that exchange of commerce had on so many millions of people. Who knew that the chief reason I live in the U.S. is because my ancestors fled famine-struck Ireland because Columbus discovered America and the potato was discovered in Peru! Huh!
I definitely recommend this book. I wish it could have been more concise, or attempted to cover fewer outcomes of the Exchange, but I'll have to trust that the author is more of an expert than I am.
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.
This book is extensively researched, well written and well read. I have never been very interested in history books, but this book ties history to biology. It's one of those very rare well written science books. It provides a lot of hard information sprinkled with enough politics and economics to make a great story.
This book presents a very entertaining portrayal of little known historical trivia of factors of change caused by the Columbian Exchange between the new world and the old, after Columbus discovery in 1492. Most of these interesting stories of change and interconnectedness between the new and old worlds will have likely not been known by the reader prior to reading this book. Focuses to a large degree food crop exchanges, trade, exploration, culture. Although the stories are entertaining, I was expecting all of these various stories to be tied up into a conclusion forming the authors overall thesis for explaining all of these events. But this may not have been the intended purpose of the book, and it is still worth reading just for noting the interesting stories and observations by the author.
This book helped put things in historical perspective. Much like Gun Germs and Steel, the book describes how Geography, population, and psychology intermixed to form the world today. The best example is that African's natural resistence to malaria made them more attractive as slaves then Europeans, which had been used till they kept dying of malaria.
The neutrality of the information. There was not much slant, bias, or commentary in the text. The author did a good job of presenting the facts.
This book would not translate well to film.