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.
I would certainly listen to this again, but first I would order the preceding book, 1492, to get a better idea of the world that Columbus sailed into. I'd heard a podcast of an interview with Charles Mann on NPR and was attracted to the idea of learning about the transference of plants and diseases by Columbus and other early explorers. I didn't realize that the book would encompass in addition the effects of moving people from Africa, South American silver to China and the movement of people into North America. This books explores a much wider set of topics than I expected and I was fascinated to learn about so much that followed from the Columbian Exchange. I listened while on my morning walks and they became longer and longer as I listened with growing interest.
The narration by Dean added greatly to my enjoyment of this book because he sounded so interested himself. His inflections and pronunciation made everything he said very clear to me, even though I listened at 1.5x regular speed.
Hard to go wrong with this one if you are interested in the world around you anyhow it got that way.
An in depth account of human "progress" - the more things change the more they stay the same. Learning the far reaching impact of the Columbian exchange - fascinating and astounding.
The book itself is a wonderful read. Mann wove vast amount of information into captivating stories, detailing how human lives have forever been changed in almost every aspect since Columbus discovered the America. However, Robertson Dean's performance has a couple of flaws. His pronunciation of Chinese names is often inaccurate, and he inhaled really hard between sentences, making loud and annoying noise.
Learned more about the impact of trade on the American and Other continents than i ever imagined. The impact of the mosquito is amazing.
The Killing Mosquito and The Potato
Fascinating history of the ecological and biological effects of Christopher Columbus's travels and the world's first move toward the globalization and homogeneity we see today.
1493 is not intended to be "the last word" or even non-controversial, as best as I can understand. It's something even better -1493 is an invitation to become astonished, question and explore, formulating your own conclusions. Any attempts to make sense of history long gone needs to make inspired leaps of imagination. Charles Mann provides a sumptuous feast of discoveries about "The New World". As few records and even populations remain, we need everyone's active engagement, teasing out possibilities. I love how it has captured my full attention. I care more about how the Columbian Exchange reshaped the planet and its civilizations, and have a far better understanding of the massive implications for our planet today.
I appreciate Charles Mann's scholarship and profound caring about those who came before us and the concerns we face now.
This is the first of Robertson Dean's performances I've heard, and I like it.
I listened to 1491 prior to this. Every bit as compelling, and just as highly recommended.
A fascinating book. Mann splays out his curiosity and inquisitiveness over 500 years of world history. I felt at times that he rambled and got a bit lost on tangents, but I understood and recongized his general thesis. I also thought he was fair in characterizing the consequences of the "homogenocene" and globalization. It has destroyed some environments and ways of living, but it has brought with it many benefits, and it has generally raised the standard of living for millions of humans. And whether we like it or not, it is inevitable.
Robertson Dean is a fine narrator. He has a pleasing voice.
A most interesting book about the rise of globalisation and how it has changed the world and humanity in the last 600 years.
Great book, it is about history, but it was told very well, and putting the events in context from different perspectives. Not only did I learn more about the history and the effects from that time period, it was very interesting and tough to put down. I have been recommending to everyone.